6th Jan 2023

Why Do We Give Red Roses on Valentine’s Day?

Author: Libbi Cohen

Why Do We Give Red Roses on Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day, which is also known as St Valentine’s Day, takes place on the 14th of February and is the day of love. It is a chance for lovers to demonstrate their affection, love and gratitude towards one another. This can be via a romantic dinner, a trip away, romantic gifts or a classically romantic bouquet of red roses. I’m sure everyone is well aware that the red rose is a traditional symbol of romance, and subsequently of Valentine’s Day, but not many people know why. Have you ever wondered what the link is?

History of Valentine’s Day

No one truly knows where Valentine’s Day gets its name from. One story is that it originates from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which took place in mid-February and celebrated pairing off women with men by lottery in order to honour the beginning of spring. Another story is that it has its origins in a legend about a priest who signed a letter ‘from your Valentine’, to his jailer’s daughter. Yet another story, and perhaps the most commonly recognised one, is that the holiday was named after St Valentine, who secretly married couples in order to save husbands from going to war.

What all of these stories have in common is the motif of romance. It is for this reason why Valentine’s Day has come to be associated with love.

In the 14th century, formal messages to lovers appeared, while in the 1700s commercially printed cards became popular. Valentines cards commonly depicted, and still do, Cupid, the God of Love. Chocolates and flowers, especially red roses, have become associated with the holiday.

History of the Red Rose’s association with Valentine’s Day

During the Victorian era, flowers were used by lovers in order to express their emotions. Specifically, lovers would encrypt codes into flower arrangements, meaning that entire conversations could be had via flowers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, due to its variety and aesthetic beauty, the rose became the most popular flower used to express love.

Meaning of the Red Rose according to Greek Mythology

According to Greek mythology, the first ever white rose appeared when Aphrodite was born and her blood is what turned the rose red. Aphrodite is the goddess of love. According to mythology, Aphrodite was madly in love with Adonis - after discovering a plot against her lover, she pricked her foot to make it bleed as a warning to him. Although she was too late to save him, her blood spritzed the white rose petals and stained them red. Because of this,  red roses have become the symbol of love and affection.

What is so special about the colour red?

Red has traditionally been said to represent passion and love. When we are feeling passionate, our blood pressure, heart rate and adrenaline increases. This makes blood pump around the body faster, thereby causing us to blush. Since red is the colour of passion and love, it comes as no surprise that red roses are the flower of choice for Valentine’s Day.

A Dozen Red Roses

I’m sure all of you have heard the phrase  "a dozen red roses", but do you know what this symbolises? A typical bouquet of roses will contain twelve flowers. This is because there are twelve months in a full year and so this number has long been viewed as a representation of completeness. If your loved one makes you feel complete, or you want to have the perfect, most fulfilling Valentine’s Day, be sure to gift your lover with a bouquet made up of a dozen red roses.

Express your feelings on the holiday of love with our selection of Valentine’s Day bouquets!

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