From white roses to white lilies, daisies, orchids, hydrangeas, tulips, and dozens of other blossoms, white flowers enjoy many meanings which are all felt deeply by people who give and receive them.
Most commonly, white roses’ meaning is connected to purity and innocence, which has made the blooms a long-time favorite for those wishing to express the very truest of true love. For this reason, white roses as part of bridal flower arrangements is almost a given.
White roses’ meanings of fidelity and faithfulness are appropriate for such occasions and their elegant simplicity coordinates perfectly with all other colors.
What many people do not know about white roses’ meaning is that the gorgeous flowers also communicate the concept of “forever.” So while they definitely fits for wedding celebrations, white rose flower arrangements are also thoughtful ways to honor the death of a loved one. It is like the flowers say, “you may be gone, but you will be loved forever.”
The delicate nature of white roses and other white flowers helps reinforce sympathy in a gentle way rather than making a powerful statement. As well, the absence of color invites introspection from studying the blossom itself more closely to appreciate its beauty. So, in this way, white roses can mean having a way to say the unsaid.
In Victorian times, the meaning of white roses and white hydrangeas was slightly different. While white flower arrangements could mean innocence and honesty of intention, it was also considered that white flowers meant the loss of passion.
So, someone who received a bouquet of white roses after previously receiving a bouquet of red roses from the same suitor would have an unspoken statement that perhaps the love interest no longer wished to continue their courtship.
Oddly enough, over time this meaning of quieting of passion evolved to be part of accepted relationship dynamics over time and white roses and white hydrangeas in particular became the symbolic gift for four-year anniversaries.
The meaning of white roses in this application was most likely to convey that a love that started out with fiery passion has now found its place in stillness and a different more meaningful kind of love.
During other times in history, white roses’ meaning had less to do with the purity of true love and more to do with the purity of something new and “unstained” by the world. This made white rose flower arrangements a popular choice for welcoming a new baby, baptisms, and seasonal celebrations like May Day and other Spring festivals.
Young ladies of marrying age in the middle ages would often wear wreaths or crowns of white flowers on their heads to symbolize their availability to find and marry a husband. White roses’ meaning in this situation was to reinforce the virginal quality of the young ladies and the purity of their character and actions. Eventually, many western cultures adopted this concept towards a bride’s attire - hence the tradition of the white wedding dress. Although brides these days now wear colors other than white and it is accepted for women to wear white even on a second or third marriage, the tradition all began with white roses.
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