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Legends About the Rose

Aphrodite the goddess of love in Greek mythology supposedly created the rose. The legend says that the rose was created by mixing her tears with the blood of her lover Adonis. This would give us roses with that wonderful dark red coloring.

Legend has it that the Romans adopted the rose. Aphrodite was turned into their goddess Venus and the rose became the symbol of love and beauty. It became the symbol of secrecy when Cupid offered it to the god of silence to keep quiet about the romantic adventures of Venus. It became common to decorate Roman dining rooms with roses painted on the ceiling. The term sub-Rosa or under the rose means “confidentially”.

We all know the roses bloom quickly and just as quickly they wither away. They never seem to last very long in vases but my mom extended the vase life of roses with a couple of aspirins in the water. Knowing about the short life of the rose it is amazing to find out that there is a living rose bush that counts as the world’s oldest and is most likely 1000 years old. It continues to bloom on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. My opinion is that it must be a divine rose watered by the tears of angels.

The most interesting story comes from ancient Greek mythology. Cupid, the son of Venus got stung by a bee. When he got stung he was so surprised that he shot some arrows into a rose garden. Once the roses got struck by those arrows they started growing thorns. It was a chain reaction – the bee hurt Cupid and even if he didn’t mean to, he hurt the roses. As Venus was taking a walk through the rose garden she got a thorn stuck in her foot. It was the drops of her blood that turned the roses red.

A maiden named Rhodanthe lived in the Roman Empire. She was so beautiful that she had many suitors. She decided to seek refuge in her friend Diana’s temple just to get away from all the suitors seeking her attention. Unfortunately, Diana was a jealous woman and when the suitors broke through the temple gates to find Rhodanthe she became furious. In her anger, Diana turned the beautiful maiden into a rose and her suitors into thorns. So it became that roses were protected by their thorns.

Arab legend says that at first, all roses were white. One night a nightingale met a lovely white rose and fell in love with it. At this time nightingales could not sing. They were only able to croak and chirp like some other birds. After meeting with the white rose the nightingale was inspired to sing. His love for the white rose grew and he kept moving closer to her. Then one day he was so close that the thorns pierced the nightingale’s heart and the white rose became red forevermore.

Regardless of what happened to the poor nightingale somehow, these legends seem to inspire romance and passion.

All of the photos of the roses except for the 1000-year-old rose are my own photos. 

What do you think?

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