Why red rose is a symbol of love in romantic relationships

Over the years, red roses have become a timeless symbol of love.

Be it the depiction of red roses in mythology or literature, red roses are universally considered a symbol of love.

Even in the digital age, where memes and emojis rule most virtual conversations, the physical gesture of giving a red rose still touches people’s hearts.

Whether they are given as a single stem or a bouquet, the gifting of red roses is often considered an expression of romantic love for one’s partner or crush.

But why are red roses considered a symbol of love in romantic relationships and what makes them so special? Let us try to decode the significance and universal appeal of these beautiful flowers.

Origin in mythology and history

The connection of the red rose to love dates back to ancient civilisations. For instance, in Greek mythology, red roses are closely associated with the goddess of love Aphrodite. The Greeks believed that red roses were created when Aphrodite’s tears merged with the blood of her lover, Adonis. And so, red roses symbolised both the beauty and pain of love.

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For the Romans too, red roses were associated with Venus, the goddess of love.

Talking of the Victorian era, this was the period when floriography– which is the language of flowers– became a popular means of communication between people. During this time, different flowers and their colours signified specific meanings. So, red roses symbolised deep love and desire for the person whom they were being given. And since societal norms back then didn’t allow open and public displays of affection, lovers expressed their love in a subtle yet clear way by giving red roses to each other.

Lovers exchanged red roses to convey their emotions, especially when societal norms didn’t approve of open expressions of affection.

The cultural symbolism of red roses

Over the years, red roses’ symbolism of love extended beyond mythology and history into many cultural practices and traditions across the world. In literature, the red rose has often been used as a metaphor for love. Take, for instance, William Shakespeare’s classic lines from ‘Romeo and Juliet’, where Juliet says, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This timeless line, which stands true even today, shares the idea that love transcends all boundaries and it is much more than external labels.

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In modern times, red roses are often given to one’s love interest or romantic partner to express one’s deep feelings for them– be it on Valentine’s Day or special days like weddings and anniversaries.

Scientifically speaking, red roses are also said to impact one psychologically and emotionally. While their deep red colour evokes strong feelings of warmth and passion in the receiver, the sweet smell of roses can also uplift their mood.

And so, despite their thorns, red roses are universally accepted as a symbol of deep love and affection for people in romantic relationships.