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5 Rose-Giving Traditions in Different Cultures

Valentine's Day Roses

It’s no surprise: the world loves roses. It’s a flower, rich in history, cultural meaning, aesthetic value, and fragrance. You can grow it in your garden, make it into perfume – even eat it. And come Valentine’s Day or your anniversary, you can always use a few to send a timeless message of love and romance. But Valentine’s Day roses can sometimes hog the spotlight, overshadowing all the other rich rose-giving traditions around the world.

Of course, we at The Bouqs Co. believe there are as many occasions to give roses as there are rose colors – but let’s take a look at some of the ways the classic bouquet of roses pops up in other cultures!

Hungary: A Somber Affair

We’ll get the bummer out of the way first. In Hungary, roses are actually a popular funeral flower. While they still retain the classic rose symbolism of love and even romance in that context, they tend to represent one’s undying love for a lost friend, spouse, or relative – so they may not be the most appropriate gift for a first date in Budapest!

South Korea: Birthday Roses

South Koreans take rose-giving to the next level by making these lovely blooms a coming-of-age symbol. Every May, on Coming-of-Age Day, South Koreans have a giant party celebrating all the young people turning 20 that year, at which the birthday boys and girls (men and women?) exchange gifts, including bouquets of roses – typically red.

It’s not clear why this particular flower, so closely associated with romance and passion across the globe, has stuck with 19-going-on-20-year-olds in South Korea, but we love roses so much, we can’t judge!

Finland: Friend’s Day

Speaking of giving roses in a non-romantic context, the Finnish have also adopted the rose as a symbol of appreciation between friends. In fact, every February 14, the Finnish swap the traditional Valentine’s Day for the more inclusive Friend’s Day, a custom that started in the 1980s and hasn’t gone anywhere since. We can’t blame them – we’re firm believers in spreading the (flower) love, romantic or not!

In that spirit, the Finnish celebrate Friend’s Day by exchanging cards, candy, and pink roses.

Catalonia: Saint George’s Day

Saint George’s Day (Sant Jordi in Catalan) kind of takes the cake as the most extra rose tradition on this list. It isn’t so much the manner of giving roses – as usual, bunches and bouquets of roses are exchanged between friends and loved ones – but rather the folklore behind the tradition that’s unique.

Legend has it that St. George, your typical knight in shining armor, saved both a town and a princess by slaying a dragon who’d taken up residence nearby. When the dragon fell, roses sprang up from where its blood had spilled – and now every April 23, Catalonians give each other red roses to symbolize St. George’s valiance and sacrifice. Swoon!

Taiwan: Valentine’s Day Roses, Upgraded

We’ve talked about how rose symbolism fits into a “language of flowers” before, but Taiwan’s Valentine’s Day rose traditions take that symbolism to the next level. Apparently, when V Day rolls around, rose bouquets are bought in specific numbers to send particular messages to crushes and loved ones:

  • A single rose symbolizes one-and-only love.
  • 11 roses are given to a “special someone.”
  • 99 roses are given to someone you’ll love for eternity.
  • 108 roses = “Will you marry me?”

Get counting, ladies.

If you’re anything like us, all that rose talk probably has you craving a Bouq of lovely, fragrant blooms for your own special someone… or friend, or yourself! Whether you’ve got a romantic occasion coming up, you’re scrambling for a last-minute V-Day gesture, or you just want to treat yourself with some flower-filled self-love, The Bouqs Co. has all the sustainable, farm-to-table roses you could dream of.

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