Each month on the calendar has a birth flower assigned to it, but June’s official bloom is especially coveted. From ancient times, the rose has represented the deepest of emotions – and is still used today to convey strong sentiments. In June, the rose is the appropriate flower to send to those friends and relatives celebrating birthdays, but that is not the only celebration of roses this month. Red Rose Day, observed on June 12th, is a day set aside to recognize red roses specifically. Throughout history, the red rose has represented romance, passion, love and noble sacrifice; and this day has been established by botanists and gardeners as a tribute to the flower.
Here are just a few of the legends that have been associated with roses.
In ancient Greece, it was the story of the goddess Aphrodite that explained the creation of the red rose. When she cried over the blood of her wounded love Adonis, her tears mingled with his blood and the rose sprung up.
The Romans also credited the existence of the red rose to their primary goddess, Venus – and indirectly, to her son Cupid. The white rose was considered to have been created by the gods to represent Venus’ beauty and love. Legend says that Venus’ son Cupid was stung by a bee. When he reacted to the sting, his arrow went askew and landed in a garden rosebush, causing thorns to grow. The thorns cut into Venus’ skin, and her blood turned their petals red.
Romans created canopies of roses on the ceilings of their banquet halls; tradition stated that anything discussed “under the roses” would remain a secret. Even in contemporary society, the term “sub rosa” still represents a confidential message.
Arabic tradition held that all roses were created to be white in color. One evening, a passing Nightingale grew enamored with a perfect rose, and wanting to be one with the flower, pressed its body into the rosebush. The thorns pierced the bird’s body through, causing the bird’s blood to transform the rose to deep red – the red rose still symbolizes intense passion and sacrifice, even unto death.
Exchanging roses to convey emotion is still a popular and meaningful tradition. In June, whether for a birthday or to celebrate Red Rose Day, come to Robertson’s Flowers & Events for the most legendary rose bouquets in Philadelphia and beyond.