from: A Red, Red Rose
June's flower, the Rose, is possibly the most popular flower in the history of the world. DNA research has traced roses back some 200 million years. The Rose is the national flower of England and the United States, and the provincial flower of Alberta, Canada. There are over 7,000 different rose plants of approximately 550 varieties. The roses bloom from April through October with the peak coming in June, depending on the weather.
The Latin name for the Rose is rosa, which means red, but Roses come in many different colors each with its own specific tradition and meaning:
1. Red Roses are the traditional symbol for love, romance, beauty and perfection.
2. Pink Roses symbolize grace, elegance, admiration, appreciation, and joyfulness.
3. Yellow Roses are associated with warmth, happiness, and friendship.
4. White Roses represent innocence, purity, honor, reverence, remembrance and are traditionally associated with marriages and new beginnings.
5. Orange Roses symbolize desire, enthusiasm, passion, excitement and fervent romance.
6. Lavender Roses are a symbol of enchantment and express feelings of love at first sight.
Some of the folk lore and legends associated with the Rose:
*Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. The Rose was sacred to a number of goddesses, and is often used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
*Roses were introduced to Rome by the Greeks. During feasts young men and women in Athens adorned a crown of Roses and danced naked around the temple of Hymen to symbolize the innocence of the Golden Age.
*Cloris, goddess of flowers, crowned the Rose as Queen of the Flowers. Aphrodite presented a Rose to her son Eros, god of love. The Rose became a symbol of love and desire.
*Eros gave the rose to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to induce him not to gossip about his mother's amorous indiscretions. Thus the rose also became the emblem of silence and secrecy. The Greeks would plan their battles in the secrecy of a rose bower or sub rosa. In the middle ages a Rose was suspended from the ceiling of a council chamber, pledging all present to secrecy.
*Prostitutes in Nimes were known as roses. Clearly a visit to a rose would need to be done in secret.
*Jewish legends attributed the red color of the Rose to the first blood that darkened the Earth’s soil.
*The Teutons believed the Rose was a symbol of the underworld and called their battlefields rose gardens.