The Symbolic Meaning of Roses

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The blood red rose, symbolism of love, passion, and devotion.
The blood red rose, symbolism of love, passion, and devotion. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Zaqqy)

Roses have many more symbolic meanings than love. Roses have their roots in Greek mythology, Christianity and Roman culture. Even the different colors of roses have symbolic meanings.

Love and Passion

The rose in Greek mythology was associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Aphrodite is often depicted with roses in her hair in paintings showing her passion and love for Adonis.

Devotion

The rose has symbolic meaning in Christianity. The rosary is an important Christian symbol of devotion to God or being one with God, just as Mary and Jesus are one with God.

Mary adorned with a crown of roses, holding the Christ child with roses in a vase at his feet.
Mary adorned with a crown of roses, holding the Christ child with roses in a vase at his feet. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Marc)

Secrets

The rose is a symbol of secrets. The term, "sub rosa" means under the rose and dates back to the Roman empire. During secret meetings, Romans would hang roses over the table where it was known that anything discussed at that table would be kept secret.

Joy and Pain

The rose is a symbol of the paradox between good and evil or joy and pain, as depicted in the old saying, “Every rose has its thorn.”

Every rose has its thorn.
Every rose has its thorn. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Anita Martinz)

Color Symbolism

The color of the rose also has symbolic meaning. A red rose symbolizes passion, love, devotion and sacrifice. Pink roses are for grace and innocence. White roses are for purity and humility. Yellow roses symbolize joy and gladness.

The innocent blush on a pink rose.
The innocent blush on a pink rose. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of David K)

References

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