A rose🌹, at all times, has had a significant place in literature, mythology, religion, and other areas of life. They decorated the scenes. They were used in works to convey metaphors and appeared in many myths. Even though white roses signify purity, innocence, and light feelings, in history and culture, roses have many meanings. Each author wanted to convey something of his own, using talking about roses in his work.

Different nations also used these beautiful flowers in different ways. Thus, white roses have a wide range of meanings. For each country and each person, white roses have their meaning. 

In our article, we will answer a question like what does a rose symbolize in literature and its place in mythology?”.


What Does a Rose Symbolize in Mythology

red rose

Roses are one of the most popular flowers you can find in various examples of mythology. Every country or every nation has used roses to represent their meanings. The main meaning of roses emphasized female beauty and sexuality, the recognition of a woman as a goddess. Also, roses have symbolism like eternal love. Although in some civilizations, roses carried other meanings.

We want to tell you about several examples of the use of a rose in the mythology of different countries. Let's find out more.



In the culture of Asia, the rose has always been a symbol of the world's creation and humanity. According to one legend, the God of India, Vishnu, created his beloved woman from 108 large and 1008 small rose petals. After that, this flower began to mean beauty.



The Greeks dedicated such a flower as a rose to the gods. In Greek mythology, roses are most associated with Adonis, the beloved man of the goddess Aphrodite. Following this myth, a boar attacked Adonis while hunting and tore him to death.

When Adonis died, his blood dyed the white roses deep red. It can explain the fact that red roses have become a symbol of exactly the feelings between lovers. Strong love is stronger than death and exists between lovers, even if they die.



The Romans also have their traditions and associations connected to the rose. For example, the Romans celebrated the feast of Rosalia, which took place annually in late spring or early summer. The essence of this holiday was to pay tribute to the spirits of the dead, and roses were one of the main attributes.

Also, the Romans had a tradition of using roses as garlands because, according to one of the beliefs, this could stop drunkenness.


Roses in Poetry and Literature

roses on the book

In literature works, one can often notice the use of a rose. Sometimes, with the help of these flowers, the author wants to convey some hidden meaning. The use of roses to represent hidden meanings in works began during the time of William Shakespeare. Most likely, each person has met an example of how the author conveys the hidden meaning through roses in his work. However, we must say that roses can have several meanings and talk about different things in this situation.

We have selected for you some successful examples of flower symbolism in literature to convey a certain meaning to readers. Let's look at these examples in more detail.


“Romeo and Juliet” by W. Shakespeare

Here, you can mention a quote from the work: What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word, would smell as sweet. Many people answer a question like “what does a rose represent in this case?

These words often sound like a quote from the author in the work. In this case, the rose is used to say that the name or title does not reflect the qualities of a person or a flower. Citing a rose as an example, Juliet asked her parents to believe that the name of her lover and belonging to the family he comes from does not affect his personality or make him bad.


“Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

In this famous work, the author also uses roses as a metaphor to explain some crucial things to the audience. In one of the scenes in this tale, card gardeners are painting white roses red. By this, the author conveys the desire to disguise his real appearance to avoid certain consequences.


“The Little Prince” by A. de Saint-Exupéry

In this story, the prince talks about the rose and why it differs from everyone else for him. He says many people might think his rose is the same as hundreds of others. But she is special to him because he raised and cared for her. This story about a rose was added to the author's work to teach readers to appreciate what they have and protect themselves from troubles.


Bottom Line 

Thus, we have told you about the significance of a rose in the mythology of different cultures and literature. The authors used these flowers to convey a certain message to the readers. Each author has used roses to convey their meaning. It could describe strong and eternal love or purity of thoughts. Roses are not only beautiful flowers but also a great example with which many spiritual things can be explained.



What does a rose symbolize in Christianity?

Roses have also been used in religion and convey their meaning. So, for example, red roses symbolize the blood of Christ or the mercy of the Virgin Mary. At the same time, white roses have always been associated with the purity of the Virgin Mary. During the Renaissance, roses were also associated with some saints.

What does a rose symbolize spiritually?

In all the main religions, there is a mention of roses, giving them special meaning. In religions, roses mean strong love operating in the world. If we turn to ancient mythology, there can be found references to the fact that the gods interact with each other and people. People belonging to the pagan faith used roses as decorations to represent their hearts.

What is red roses' mythology?

One of the clearest examples of the history of roses in mythology is their connection with the goddess of love, Aphrodite. There are several different myths on this subject. One famous variation is that when she saw her lover Adonis dead, a mixture of her tears and his blood fell to the ground, turning into red roses.

What does a rose gift mean?

The value of roses given varies by color and quantity. So, red roses symbolize passion and deep feelings for the one they are given. White roses signify pure thoughts and eternal love toward the recipient. With yellow roses, you can support a recovering person, give them to a friend, or congratulate a colleague on winning a competition.


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April 14, 2023 — Alexandr Oleynik