Roses; Blooms of Beauty and History

From floral shops to floral design books and clothing pieces, flowers are everywhere. But is it all just because they are pretty? There is no denying that flowers are very colorful and pleasing to look at. Most industries use them for marketing and shops use them to look more appealing. Nine times out of ten, it works. People will prefer somewhere with flowers to a normal environment. Giving flowers to someone has also become a tradition in many cultures. When someone is sick or when they are feeling uneasy, it is usually given as a symbol of caring. It is also common to give flowers as a love token; on valentines day or even as a fun surprise. Flowers have become such a big part of our daily lives that we do not even think about the fact that they have historical or mythological context. Roses for example, are one of the first flowers that come to mind. They have many meanings in different cultures. Let’s dive into the magical world of roses and unravel its story.


Roses are one of the most common flowers used in the flower industry. On Valentine's Day, it has almost become a tradition to give a loved one roses. In ancient times it was also a very special flower. In mythology, it has so many variations of stories and is often associated with the goddess of beauty and love, Aphrodite. Let’s take a look at a Greek mythological story. Adonis is a god of beauty and attraction and is considered Aphrodite’s male counterpart. His mother was Myrrha, the daughter of The great king of Assyria. She was known for her extreme beauty. Her father would boast about his daughter and even said that she was prettier than Aphrodite. When Aphrodite heard this, she got mad and made Myrrha fall in love with her father. Myrrha then escaped, pregnant with her child, Adonis. She begged the gods to save her son. The gods turned her into a tree and in nine months, the tree popped open and Adonis was born. He had the immense beauty of his mother and was Aphrodite’s favorite. Aphrodite’s lover, Ares, the god of war, was very jealous of them and decided to kill Adonis while he went hunting. Aphrodite heard Adonis’s cries and while she was running towards him, a thorn of a rose caused her foot to bleed. Her blood turned the white roses into red ones. From that day forward red roses were considered Aphrodite’s flowers and were often associated with love and beauty.


Another common story about roses is the story of Hızır and İlias. Hızır and İlias are two siblings that have a great bond. However, they are obliged to live apart. Hızır has to live by the sea and İlias has to live on land. When God realized that they really do love each other, he let them meet only once a year under a rose tree. In many cultures the day the two meet is the sixth of May and that day is celebrated as a spring festival. Because the two siblings meet under a rose tree, on the sixth of May, people write their wishes on a piece of paper and put it under it. It is believed that wishes put under a rose tree on that day will come true.


Roses also hold a special place in religions. In Islam for example, the smell of roses is associated with the smell of the Prophad Muhammad who is the seal of messengers and prophets of God. In Islamic cultures, using rose water is very common, especially on important dates and celebrations. In Christianity a white rose represents the moon, purity and water. It is also associated with Virgin Mary. In Judaism, the sixth of May, like in the Hızır and İlias story, is celebrated as rose day. On this day, people do not work and decorate their houses with flowers. In synagogues, the houses of worship of Jews, the place where they put The Torah is also decorated with roses.


With their many colors and gorgeous smell, roses are one of the many flowers that are not only pleasing to look at but also have a long history in many civilizations around the world.


Work Cited:


https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319647949_The_Meaning_of_Flowers_A_Cultural_and_Perceptual_Exploration_of_Ornamental_Flowers

Accessed: 9 November, 2022.


https://www.southsideblooms.com/blog/how-flowers-are-important-in-our-life

Accessed: 9 November, 2022.


https://magicflowercompany.co.uk/blogs/news/meaning-symbolism-history-of-red-roses

Accessed: 10 November, 2022.


https://www.theoi.com/articles/who-is-adonis-in-greek-mythology/

Accessed: 10 November, 2022.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad

Accessed: 11 November, 2022.


https://www.britannica.com/biography/Muhammad

Accessed: 11 November, 2022.


Gezgin, Deniz. Bitki Mitosları. İstanbul, Pinhan yayıncılık, 2021.


İmage credit: https://www.florca.com/en/red-roses

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