My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose

How red roses came to symbolize love

In 1794, Robert Burns, the famed poet, put quill to paper to preserve an old Scottish tune, “A Red, Red Rose.” His goal was to explain the scope and breadth of his love for his bonnie lass.

While his words certainly accomplished that task, it’s the opening lines that forever joined love and roses:

“O, my Luve is like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June.”

Long before Burns wrote one of his most famous pieces, though, red roses had captured the hearts and minds of lovers. From mythological references and religious symbolism to literature, no other flower has been able to represent romance, devotion, and passion as much as the rose.

The ancients and red roses

When looking at mythology from around the world, it’s always interesting to examine what they all have in common.

As a means of explaining the world, the stories are often filled with symbolism – and when it comes to love, the red rose appears in tales of love from all corners of the ancient world.

• In India, when the supreme god Vishnu needed a bride, he turned to the creator of the world, Brahma, to use the most beautiful objects he could find for his goddess. As a result, Lakshmi was born with 108 large and 1,008 small rose petals – forever sealing the rose as a symbol of beauty and love.

• In Greece, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is credited with the creation of white roses, formed from the sea foam that dripped from her as she appeared from the ocean. When her lover, Adonis, was mortally wounded while hunting a wild boar, her tears of love mixed with his blood and the red rose was born.

• In Rome, Flora, the goddess of spring and flowers, was distraught when she discovered the dead body of her most beautiful nymph. The goddess begged the other gods to change her dearest into the most beautiful flower.

Apollo gave her life, Bacchus provided nectar, Vertumnus supplied fragrance, Pomona contributed fruit, and Flora contributed petals – and the world was given roses.

Roses through time

As the world moved to monotheism, so too did roses. In Christianity, for example, roses evolved from a symbol of paganism to one that represents Christ’s love and the Virgin Mary’s devotion.

Similarly, roses also found their way into literature as a token of love. Perhaps no other couple in literary history symbolizes love more than Romeo and Juliet. It’s little wonder that Shakespeare had Juliet utter these famous words:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Red roses and the essence of love

The real story of love and roses is one simple fact. Since the beginning of human history, long before there was a Robert Burns or a Shakespeare, people have been fascinated by and in love with roses. Perhaps it’s their heady fragrance or the flavor of their hips or the way the petals seem to seductively swirl over one another – yes, people love roses.

Always have. Always will.

At HOSA International, we too are in love with roses. Our selection of roses, including sprays and grasshearts, are available in red and a rainbow of other colors. They’re ideal for love, friendship, and any occasion when a rose is needed to express an emotion.

For more information about HOSA International, our flowers, our policies, and what we can do for you, or to place a wholesale order, call us at 305.470.9991 or complete our online form.