As we enter the millennial trend of ‘Valentine’s Week’, it is commenced by Rose Day which falls on February 7. The gesture of exchanging roses with your loved ones isn’t new unless you’ve been living under a rock. That being said, the red flower was not originally considered as a symbol of love but practical use such as medicine, trading and royalty.
Red roses gained acceleration and association to romance in the post-modern era thanks to art in both literary and motion picture form. Not that the celluloid has not created other trends, but this one in particular wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
According to a study by University of Illinois Extension titled ‘Our Rose Garden’ documents the historic significance behind roses. Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago in China. During the Roman period, roses were grown extensively in the Middle East. They were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume.
Furthermore, during the 17th century, roses were considered a royalty, such that the flower itself or rose water was used as legal tender, and they were often used as barter and for payments. It wasn’t until the late eighteenth century that cultivated roses were introduced into Europe from China.
By the time Shakespeare rolled around it had already become a poetic standard that he, and later Gertrude Stein, both famously played with in their works. Shakespeare made an allusion to roses in Romeo and Juliet.
According to Island Rose Blog, early cultures across the globe used these red flowers for their traditional wedding attire and to decorate the wedding ceremony itself. Because of these traditions, the red rose soon became known as the symbol for deep love and fidelity.
Coming to the point where we have an entire day dedicated to the scarlet flora, it is simply a gesture of love and affection to those we adore. And if you really wish to celebrate this day, gift a potted rose plant and not a plucked one. It indeed serves as a better reminder of love that will surely last longer.