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Why Are Roses So Popular for Valentine’s Day?

Learn the lore and logistics behind giving roses for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is without a doubt the biggest day in the world for sending flowers, as well as cards and chocolates, but have you ever wondered where the tradition came from, and why we send flowers and other goodies? Well, it has a rather interesting history, and there are a couple of them. Read them all to find out more.

Valentine’s Day History through Saints and Legends

One of the traditions of celebrating Valentine’s Day came about through legends and tales that spoke about the death of early Christian saints, in Greek and Roman mythology.

At least three Christian martyrs were named Valentine, and apparently, they were executed for a number of reasons, one of which was marrying a Roman soldier in secret. Amazingly Emperor Claudius II stopped soldiers from marrying their sweethearts and he believed that they should only love Rome and nothing else. Valentine’s Day apparently came about from a Christian bishop who would marry people in secret, defying the emperor’s law ceremonies in defiance of the emperor’s law.

Valentine was eventually imprisoned and he was executed on 14th February. Before his execution took place, he left a love letter for the daughter of the jailor and it was signed “From your Valentine.” This is why we still use this phrase today and celebrate it on 14th February. Some cities like Bangalore and Mumbai have huge craze for sending flowers on Valentine’s Day.

There’s a bit of history, but what about the flowers?

Way back in the 17th Century, flowers became part of the Valentine’s Day traditions. Roses were especially used as they represent love in every way. Apparently, roses were Venus’ favourite flower, the Goddess of Love, as she believed that they stood for strong feelings. From this, people then started giving those they cared about roses, to show their love for each other. Which is of course still lives on today.

But there’s more history behind this tradition, where a tradition of sending flowers was created for another reason. It comes from the old-fashioned custom of sending gifts, especially flowers, to pass on non-verbal messages. Thanks for Charles II of Sweden in the 18th Century; each and every single flower had a meaning to it. In this way people could have an entire conversation just through flowers. That’s amazing.
But Valentine’s Day is not just about flowers, it’s about the delicious treat of chocolates too. Spanish explorers brought chocolate back to the Old World from the New World in the 17th Century. Unsurprisingly people loved it, and its popularity increased all over Europe. This then became the candy of choice for Valentine’s Day.

We know that roses are generally the flower of choice, but people send other flowers too.

When it comes to gifts and tokens of affection, flowers are a classic choice. But of all the flowers given on holidays, few are as closely associated with Valentine’s Day as the red rose.

Even if you’re not someone who pays attention to the mid-February holiday, it’s hard to miss the sales displays filled with dozens of Valentine’s Day roses situated front and centre in supermarkets, drugstores, and even gas station mini-marts. Of all the Valentine’s Day gifts out there, none are as iconic as the rose.

“Plants are great for long-lasting tokens of love, and a simple red rose plant is ever popular,” says Sandra Varley, a florist with more than a decade of experience and the sales and marketing manager for Flying Flowers. And while a bouquet of cut roses may not last quite as long as a rose bush, it says “I love you” for as long as the flowers live—longer, if you dry them.

Of course, Valentine’s Day roses aren’t strictly for expressing romantic love. Thanks to different rose colour meanings, the classic beauties make great Valentine’s Day gifts for friends and family members too. But before you hit the nearest florist for a rainbow’s array of roses, find out how the tradition of giving roses for Valentine’s Day started and which roses are tops. And in the hubbub of the holiday, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

Valentine’s Day Flowers Suggestions and What they mean

Red Roses – Love and romance. Scottish poet Robert Burns didn’t compare his love to a red, red rose for nothing. They have been associated for ages with beauty and perfection; red roses are a timeless way to say “I love you.” So if you receive red roses, you know you are truly loved.

Pink Roses – Love, gratitude and appreciation. Pink roses are not only stunning, but can be used to communicate many messages when you’ve got something important to say to your loved one including love, gratitude and appreciation. They are also an extremely elegant flower. Pink roses will make you feel loved and appreciated, which is a great gift for Valentine’s Day.

White Roses – Marriage, spirituality, new starts. White roses are traditionally linked with marriage and new beginnings. If you’re hoping for that special proposal, then maybe white roses will say it all.

Lilies – Promise, passion, life and fidelity. What they mean says it all, so you can certainly put a smile on your face for a bouquet of lilies.

Carnations – Love, fascination and undying love. Carnations mean you are certainly loved; a lot and good things are sure to come your way.

Chrysanthemum – Optimism and joy. There is lots of hope for your relationship, and it’s sure to be a happy union.

Besides these flowers, people send cards as well as teddy bears too. With most of our orders you receive a free card, and we’ve got fantastic Valentine’s Day bouquets, including chocolates and teddy bears too! Check out our Valentine’s Day collection, and say what you need to in style.


Why is a rose given on Valentine’s Day?

As far as the history behind the tradition of Valentine’s Day roses, an early figure sometimes connected to the association between roses and romance is Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of a British ambassador to Turkey during the 1700s. “Lady Montagu wrote letters home enthusing over a version of Turkish ‘flower language,’ or the process of assigning certain symbolic meanings to certain flowers, but she seems to have misinterpreted this local custom, which had more to do with rhyming words than the significance of the flowers themselves,” Cleto says. “Still, the concept of ‘flower languages’ caught on, especially in 19th-century England, and over the course of that century, roses became ever more tightly linked to romantic love.”

But a huge reason giving roses for Valentine’s Day has persisted as a tradition is “simply because roses are beautiful, fabulous-smelling flowers that happen to travel really well,” says Cleto. “Flowers are usually shipped over long distances, and roses are both gorgeous and hardy, so that’s a huge part of why this practice has continued.”

What are the best roses for Valentine’s Day?

Red roses are the best roses for Valentine’s Day because the colour is associated with passion and romantic love. “Part of this is probably because red dye used to be particularly expensive, difficult to obtain, and sometimes synonymous with royalty,” Cleto explains. “All these factors made red feel especially desirable and luxurious.”

Of course, if you’re celebrating platonic love—say, for valentine’s Day—you’ll want to go with something that signifies friendship. Skip the red and go straight for the yellow roses.

Those looking for inexpensive Valentine’s Day gifts may need to get creative if they want to give someone red roses—a dozen stems can go for $25 to $50, with the price inching upward the closer you get to February 14. Make homemade Valentine’s Day cards featuring the flower and perhaps one of the best love quotes of all time. Find one of the funniest Valentine’s Day cards and add a sketch of a rose inside. Or go with a solo stem. It’s a small nod to tradition that you can present before a date at a romantic restaurant or atop a Valentine’s gift.


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