The Symbolic Meaning of a Beautiful Red Rose

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Red roses are a bit obvious, don’t you think? Whether it’s an anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or a funeral, red roses are often incorporated into the celebration (or mourning) in one way or another. But see, that’s part of what makes the meaning of a red rose so confusing. After all, how can something that’s seen as a token of passion and love also be a symbol of death? To find out, we talked with two psychics about what red roses symbolize. Ahead, learn whether or not you want to keep giving (or expecting) the beautiful flower laced with meaning.

The Meaning of a Red Rose

At this point in time, red roses are so synonymous with passion that celebrity psychic Inbaal Honigman says it’s practically impossible to assume any other meaning. “The image of a single red rose is so enduring, so embedded in the public consciousness, that no one can really add any extra meanings to it,” she says. “Any attempt to 'adopt' the red rose into a new significance is sure to fail.”

Experts In This Article

That said, if you’re looking for deeper red rose meaning, Honigman says you can tie the flower to the chakras. “The color red is the color of the base chakra, and speaks of base urges and needs,” she explains. “The base chakra is right at the top of our legs, where they meet, and is thus connected to our privates—and what we do with them.”

While sex might be the first thing to pop into mind, Honigman says that the color red is tied to sexuality, courage, and strength as a whole. “When we wear red, we feel invincible,” she says. “Red hair, red lipstick, red shoes—they are used by people to increase their vigor, as perceived by themselves, for extra confidence, and as perceived by others, as well.”

Red Roses in Relationships

Think of some of Hollywood’s most romantic moments. When Edward Lewis overcame his fear of heights and ascended Vivian Ward’s fire escape? He was toting along a bouquet of ruby-red roses. Now, think of some of Hollywood’s most passionate (albeit, misguided) moments. In the film American Beauty, red roses are everywhere amidst Lester Burnham and Angela Hayes’ illicit affair. And according to Honigman, it makes sense.

“A red rose is for passionate love,” she says. “It is given to you by someone who would love to take you out. Or maybe in! …Giving a red rose to a present partner says 'I still fancy you'”

Still, just because a red rose symbolizes passion doesn’t always mean that it’s tied to the best of intentions—at least not for all parties involved. “We obviously connect red roses with love but there’s a bit more to it than that, it’s also secrecy like a love affair, passion, and courage,” says psychic and creator of Psychic Reading Expert, Christine Wallace. “The color red is bold, and it can represent feelings of love so strong that nothing would get in the way of the feelings and efforts the giver of these roses feels, and what this one might do to win the receiver’s love.”

Red Roses and Death

We know what you’re thinking: If red roses are all about passion and love, how can they also go hand-in-hand with death?

“The symbol of the red rose was used by the English county of Lancashire since the 1300s, and is emblazoned on many a military badge,” Honigman shares. “The Wars of the Roses in the 1400s involved this red rose county, fighting with its neighbor, Yorkshire, which had as its symbol a white rose.” Despite their best effort, Lancashire lost the war and many of the county’s nobles died in the process. So, who knows, that might just be why now, some 620 years later, red roses make their way onto caskets and graves, too.

Other Red Rose Meanings

Now that you know the meaning of red roses, you might feel even more inclined to give the vibrant flower to someone you know. If that’s the case, you have options. You can take the fresh flower delivery route, with services like 1800Flowers, or you can opt for something that will last a lot longer. If the latter sounds like the better option of the two, be sure to check out Venus et Fleur. The celebrity-favorite forever flower brand specializes in what they call Eternity Roses, which are essentially expertly-preserved roses designed to last for up to a year or longer. Intrigued? Check out some of our favorite red rose options from the brand, below.

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