The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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The History of Valentine’s Day Flowers

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An iconic part of Valentine’s day, the red rose symbolizes romance and love. The rose was first cultivated four thousand years ago in what is now modern day Iraq. It grew in popularity as the centuries went by. The Chinese and Romans used roses for perfumes, medicine, decor, and even as legal currency. The rose that we know of today descends from the roses first introduced to Europe in the late 1700s.

The practice of sending flowers to your love interests dates back to the 18th century Victorian era. Historians do not have an exact reason as to why the red rose became the flower of love and romance. The association of roses and romance is present in nearly every culture and religion through various myths and legends. The most influential myth about roses comes from Greek mythology. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is said to have spawned roses on Earth with her tears and the blood of her mortal lover, Adonis, when he died in her arms.

While red roses are known for their romantic symbolism, other colors of the rose are also given on Valentine’s day for their different meanings. The most popular of these roses are pink, white, and yellow roses. Pink roses represent appreciation and grace while white roses symbolize innocence. Yellow roses denote friendship and happiness. If you do not have romantic intentions on Valentine’s Day but want to show your appreciation, try giving out yellow or pink roses to your close friends or mentors. A senior at Whitney Young, Taro Okamura, said “I would love it if someone gave me pink or orange roses.” 

Flower giving on Valentine’s Day isn’t exclusive to roses. Other flowers given on Valentine’s Day include tulips, orchids, lilies, florals, and daisies. These flowers can be great choices if you want to mix it up and surprise your Valentine. When asked about Valentine’s Day flowers, Szymon Betlej, an eighth grader at Whitney Young, said “Gardens can be a great place to relax and find flowers that appeal to you”  If your Valentine is interested in botany, you can take them on a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden and enjoy some winter nature. 

Flower giving and Valentine’s Day are almost inseparable from one another. The practice, which started inthe 18th century, is done most commonly with roses but there are substitutes if roses aren’t to your liking. Ultimately, your flower choice should be dictated by the message you want the recipient to receive. Some flowers are better suited for lovers while others are better suited for friends.

 

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