Cracking the Rose Code: Short of words to express? Understand the language of flowers !

I commute around 3 hours to & fro from work every day. And I like to spend these hours by reading light & random things. Most of the reading happens through my customized Facebook feed.
As I opened Facebook today in the morning, a numerology article predicting the future caught my attention. Numerologist predicted the day based on numbers and recommended colors to wear.
I kept gazing the article and then turned to Google to find out messages based on color of flowers. This was a conscious search, a result of working in the Marketing team of a flower delivery portal. 🙂
I already knew some common interpretations like red rose signifies love while yellow signifies friendship. But suddenly I was wanting to know more on this.

Well, Google helped me in discovering many new and interesting things. I found that not just color but there is a beautiful concept coined as “language of flowers” based on color, type and number of flowers.

Did you know who introduced the language associated with flowers..
In 17th century, there was an Englishwoman named Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu (1689-1762) who was a wife of British Ambassador posted in Constantinople.
She once discovered that Turkish women play a game in harems called ‘Selam’. Selam was a language which could only be decoded by attaching rhyming words with flowers and other objects. Apparently the delivery of roses to a lady in the harem was like a secretly coded letter.
She was an intelligent woman and an incredible writer.
In correspondence to her friends in Europe, she once wrote
“…I can assure you there is as much fancy shown in the choice of [flowers] as in the most studied expressions of our letters…” “There is no color, no flower, no weed, no fruit, herb, pebble or feather that has not a verse belonging to it; and you may quarrel, reproach, or send letters of passion, friendship, or even news, without ever inking your fingers.”
Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu is credited to have introduced and popularized the concept of flowers.
However the earliest record of the phrase “the language of flowers” is found in Christopher Smart’s line in Jubilate Agno, 1759 to 1763 (Listen to the poem here):
“For the flowers have their angels…
For there is a language of flowers.
For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers.
For elegant phrases are nothing but flowers.”
Roses : the color, the number even the variety of Rose conveys a special meaning
That’s true. By giving roses you convey a message much more deep without writing anything. I researched and here is the curated list of symbolic meanings & messages conveyed through different colors, numbers and varieties of Roses.
Symbolic Meaning Based on Color of Rose
Red rose symbolizes the expression of love. Red rose is often gifted to express deepest affection for someone very special.
In Greek and Roman iconography, Red roses are symbolically tied to Venus, the Goddess of love. Red color is also a color of heart & blood. Poets have immortalized red roses as the flower of romance & passionate love.
Pink Roses have been depicted in some of the earlier known art pieces. When roses first began to be cultivated, the majority of them existed in various shades of pink, from the palest pink to the deepest crimson. Pink roses signify love and appreciation but impart a gentler meaning than red roses.
Blue Roses don’t occur naturally as roses lack the pigment that produces blue color. So blue roses were traditionally created by dyeing white roses. Later on first blue rose (blue moon) was produced using hybridization techniques. Though it was also not much of blue. Due t its absence in nature, blue rose represents mystery or attaining the impossible. Isn’t that interesting?
White Roses are the symbol of innocence, purity, sincerity, spirituality, new start etc if you go by their appearance. It is also associated with new start or marriage.  In 1840 when Queen Victoria got married, the tradition of white rose bouquet started. In the language of flowers white roses means “I am worthy of you”.
Orange Roses were discovered in 20th century when the rose cultivators experimented and crossbreed the red and yellow roses to create orange rose, which later on depicted its meaning as love emerging from friendship. Orange roses signify enthusiasm, passion & gratitude.
Yellow Roses are the best roses to be given to anyone. You can never go wrong with the yellow roses as they are the traditional & universal symbol of friendship. Yellow roses symbolize friendship, joy gladness. In many cultures yellow color represents joy, wisdom and power. It has been related to the sunlight and warmth.
Black Roses have a variety of symbolic meanings like darker aspects of the universe, death, evil, witchcraft and revenge. Black roses do not exist, they are actually dark red colored roses and they appear black or they are created artificially.
Symbolic Meaning Based on Number of Rose
Single Rose symbolizes deepest affection and utmost devotion. It says “I love you” or “I still love you”.
Two Roses indicates two people joined as one. It says “marry me”. Two roses with their stem wired together signify a coming engagement or marriage.
Three Roses are considered as a traditional one month anniversary gift.
Six Roses symbolizes infatuation. It stood for the “need to be loved or cherished” or “I want to be yours”.
Twelve Roses says “be mine”. You can convey your message or propose your love by a perfect dozen of roses.
Fifty Roses are like sending a bouquet with so many roses to express a love with no bounds.
Hundred Roses represents an undying love. It signifies the long term love for hundred years or love until the death.
Three Sixty five Roses signifies constant and true love in terms of one rose for every day of the year. It says “I love you every single day” or “can’t stop thinking about you”.
Roses with different color and numbers have some meaning and it varies with the color and numbers. Using flowers to convey messages has been a tradition in many civilizations. Different number of roses represents different message of love.
Final Words..
Language of flowers is a wonderful concept. I kept the scope of this article limited only to Roses. However as already mentioned in Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu letter, there is no flower which doesn’t have a verse associated with it. So I will keep researching more on language of flowers.And next time I plan to gift flowers, I will try to convey my message well with the right color and number of roses. 🙂
Note: I might be missing on few things. Would love to know more about your understanding on language of flowers. Do share in comments 🙂
References:
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_rose
  • http://www.meme-pops.com/roses/orange-rose.htm
  • http://www.indiangiftsportal.com/
  • https://www.roseforlove.com/the-meanings-of-the-numbers-of-roses-ezp-46
  • https://prezi.com/nu7y5s-piqzf/floriography/
  • http://www.fashionlady.in/rose-day-history-and-significance-of-rose-colors/7689
  • http://www.victorianbazaar.com/meanings.html
The article is originally published by Neha Agarwal on LinkedIn

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