Roses, Valentines and Love - Dont be a Cheapskate

A Dozen Roses, Please ... or maybe two

Nothing says “I love you” like one dozen, long-stemmed roses (except maybe two dozen).  Don’t fall for that hype that is expressed in poetry … “a single rose of love – a single love never to be broken”. Single roses are for cheap givers.  Give her at least one dozen on Valentine’s Day – the feast that celebrates love.

Every year, my husband gives me two dozen roses. He spent fifteen years in the floral industry as a designer, shop owner and grower of cut flowers. He told me that they'd always laugh at the few dummies that would buy "one single rose" for their dearest loves.

"You could see the love in their eyes - the ones who bought a dozen roses - or two dozen" he said. "But the guy who bought one rose, always had a big story about how one rose was more meaningful."

Get a grip, guys. Think of your true love. Does she want one single rose when she could have a dozen?  That's like asking if she's rather have one beautiful wrapped piece of chocolate instead of a box. Seriously... we want the box.

Though Roses have been in existence for over 35 million years, garden cultivation of roses began 5000 years ago.  It is only in the last several hundred years that they have been widely cultivated and become part of the human experience equated with “love.”

In the late eighteenth century, roses from China were cultivated and introduced into Europe.  Today the rose has over 30,000 varieties to its flower species, and the flower that only bloomed once a year in soft shades of pink and white – now has produced “repeat bloomers” and hardy varieties in shades including lavender, yellow, blue, multi-toned and a thousand shades of pink and red.

Rose myths and history

How the Flower got its Name: "Eros" to Rose

One theory stems from a story in Roman mythology when Flora, the goddess of flowers, who, while walking through the woods, came upon the dead body of a young woman.  Deeply moved by the death of one so young and lovely, she transformed the body into the most beautiful flower ever created – the white rose.  Flora named the flower for Eros, the god of love.

Another myth states that Venus created the rose from her tears.  A different story claims that when Venus rose from the froth of the sea, the gods celebrated by creating the rose in her honor.

How the Rose Got its Color

Then there is the love story between Aphrodite (Venus) and Adonis.  Their love gave the red rose its crimson color.  Aphrodite, rushing towards her slain lover, catches herself on the prickly thorns of a rosebush, and her blood gives the flower its deep red color.

A Christian myth has Eve kissing a white rose and the flower then blushed with color – giving it a pinky hue.  According to Bishop Basil, writing in the 4th century, the rose only carried thorns after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.  Ironically, as the rose became one of the flowers of the Virgin Mary, it became associated with Christian charity.

The color of the Rose you give means …..

For those of you who have heard that the color of the rose is tied to a certain “sentiment”, here’s a helpful reference:

Red – romantic love; they’re the “Valentine roses” par excellence.

Yellow – joy and friendship, affection – good for someone you love, but not romantically

Deep Pink – gratitude and appreciation – ideal for mom or grandmother

Light Pink -   admiration - perfect for a daughter or sister

White – purity, reverence, humility – perfect for – well maybe a nun or saint

Valentines Day History

How Did Valentine’s Day Get Started?

Around 498 AD., Pope Gelasius declared February 14th, Saint Valentine’s Day, in honor of the Roman priest martyred under Emperor Claudius II in 279 AD.  No one is certain how the feast of Saint Valentine became associated with lovers, but two legends give us a hint.

One legend is that Pope Gelasius was attempting to “Christianize” the pagan Roman Festival “Lupercalia” which paired lovers (sometimes against their will) with life-mates by way of a lottery. A second legend tells of Saint Valentine resisting an edict of the Emperor forbidding the marriage of young men bound for military service, for which offence he was put to death.  Thus Saint Valentine and the day marked in his honor are equated with lovers.

There are varying ideas about what actually became of Valentine.  While some say he was beheaded, others contend that he became sick in prison and died.  In 1835, the remains – or what are believed to be the remains – of Saint Valentine were given to an Irish Carmelite priest named Father John Spratt, by Pope Gregory VI, after Spratt impressed the Pope with his passionate preaching during a visit to Rome.  The gift, in a black and gold casket, can still be viewed every Valentine’s Day at the Carmelite Monastery next to the Whitefriar Street church in Dublin Ireland.

The evolvement of today’s printed Valentines

History tells us the first modern valentines date from the early years of the fifteenth century.  The Young French Duc d’Orleans was captured at the battle of Agincourt and kept a prisoner in the Tower of London for a number of years.  The duke wrote a series of poems to his wife from captivity.  About sixty of them remain.  They can be seen among the royal paers in the British Museum.
Flowers as valentines appear nearly two hundred years later.  A daughter of Henry IV of France gave a party in honor of Saint Valentine.  Each lady received a bouquet of flowers from the man chosen as her valentine.

But commercial, mass print valentines have their origin in Massachusetts when in 1847 Esther Howland, pioneer of the American Valentine Industry, received a decorated card from England.  She began making her own lacy cards to sell in her father’s shop.  It was an idea so successful that she earned almost $100,000 per year in the greeting card business.

Happy Valentines Day everyone. Celebrate with Roses.


Popular Posts