Valentine’s Day is a day to express our love to those we care about most. One way to express our affection is through gifts such as chocolates, teddy bears, and, of course, flowers. The red rose is the quintessential Valentine’s Day flower, a symbol of love throughout the Western World. But how did it come to be that way? Why did we start giving roses to those we love the most? Turns out, the tradition can be stretched back thousands of years, all the way to Ancient Greece.
The history of Valentine’s Day
Roses are associated with Valentine’s Day, but how did Valentine’s Day itself start? It began with the Romans during the third century when Emperor Claudius II, believing that single men made better soldiers, outlawed marriage for young men. A young priest named Valentine vehemently opposed the new law, so much so, in fact, that he performed marriages in secret for young couples. Unfortunately, Valentine’s transgressions were eventually discovered, and he was executed on February 14, 270 CE.
It should also be noted, however, that some believe that Saint Valentine (Valentine was eventually made a saint in the 400s CE) could be two different people. There is very little information on him and his acts. When he entered into sainthood in 496, Pope Gelasius I simply referred to him as a martyr whose acts were “known only to God.” One account from the 1400s described Valentine as a priest who performed secret marriages, but another claimed he was the Bishop of Terni who was also executed by Claudius II. These two accounts could be about the same person, or they could be about different people. While the Catholic Church still recognizes Valentine as a saint, they nevertheless discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969.
Roses in Greek Mythology
Valentine’s Day, thanks to Saint Valentine, is about love. Roses, too, symbolize love, but for a different reason. In Greek Mythology, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, fell in love with a mortal named Adonis. Their love, however, was not to be, as Adonis was killed by a wild boar (some authors believe that the boar was actually Ares, the lover of Aphrodite, who transformed himself into a boar out of jealousy). As Aphrodite rushed to Adonis’ side, she pricked herself on a white rose, and the flower then became stained with her blood. As such, the rose became a symbol of Aphrodite’s and Adonis’ love.
The King of Sweden
The language of flowers has become a popular form to express one’s emotions, but it wasn’t always this way. While the language of flowers was popular in places like Persia, it didn’t become widespread in Europe until the 17th century. This is thanks to King Charles II of Sweden who traveled to Persia and was introduced to the language of flowers. King Charles II took this idea back with him to Europe where it grew increasingly popular, especially during the 19th century when people began using flowers to deliver messages to love interests. Roses, due to their association with the tale of Aphrodite and Adonis, came to symbolize love and passion, and they soon became a popular gift for lovers celebrating Valentine’s Day.
For the past few hundred years, we have been gifting roses as a way to express our love and adoration on Valentine’s Day. So, if you’re searching for the perfect roses to give to your significant other, then look no further than Mills Florist. We have plenty of Valentine’s Day bouquets that are sure to put a smile on the face of your significant other. Give us a call today at 650-326-3443 to order your Valentine’s Day flowers today!