Roses have been among the most common tattoo design choices for years. If you don’t know what to tattoo, you get a rose; that’s how common this type of design is, and for a reason. Roses create amazingly beautiful tattoo designs, they are versatile, can be designed as you wish, they easily fit into other designs and of course their meaning varies.
The symbolism and meaning of a rose tattoo can be seen in general or have a personal and completely unique meaning that varies from person to person. Rose tattoos simply never get old and never go out of style. It is a timeless design that will always be a classic tattoo choice.
However, despite being common and classic, you should still learn a thing or two about the meaning of rose symbolism and design before making that final tattoo design decision. Therefore, we have collected all the essential information in one place for you to familiarize yourself with it. So, without further ado, let’s get straight to the article!
So what does Rose Tatoo mean?
Roses throughout history
For thousands of years, roses have been the most beloved flowers. And, at the same time, and in the unpredictable future, roses symbolize and will symbolize romance and beauty. They have been appreciated for their beauty and fragrance since we have existed. As such, roses were used to adorn temples and palaces, and their petals were used to beautify waterways, palace pools, fountains, celebrations, parties, and weddings. The proof of the importance of roses for human history, our emotions, our creativity and our expression can be seen in the following facts;
- The first time roses are mentioned in a written record was in 3000 BC in what is today known as Iraq.
- The first reference to the beauty of a rose and its name “queen of flowers” dates back to 600 BC by the Greek poetess Sappho.
- The earliest fossil record of a rose dates back 3.5 billion years.
- The rose is the largest and oldest European plant grown in North America thanks to settlers who brought it to the continent in the 16th century.
- The rose is the national flower of the United States, proclaimed in 1986 by President Ronald Raegan.
- Historically, roses permeated the culture of medieval Europe. As far as European art is concerned, roses were the most used object in paintings, from the 15th to the 17th century in particular.
Now that we know the importance of roses, it’s time to really tackle the meaning of roses, today and throughout history.
For example, in the ancient world and civilizations, roses were often linked to deities and gods/goddesses. In ancient Greek civilization, for example, crowns of roses were worn by deities like Aphrodite, Eros and Dionysus. The ancient Romans were also incredibly passionate about rose ornaments and rose oil cosmetics.
Mention should also be made of the Rosalia or Rosation festival, which takes place every May in the Roman Empire. The purpose of the festival was for everyone, regardless of gender, to wear rose ornaments, usually on their heads. Roses also played an important role in the religious, ceremonial, domestic and economic life of the Roman Empire.
During the Renaissance and Golden Age, roses were considered an irreplaceable motif in paintings and in all Renaissance art. It was believed that a painter who has mastered the painting of a rose deserves to be called a master.
Marie-Antoinette was also a big fan of roses. In his portraits, roses were omnipresent.
In terms of modernism, we must mention the surrealist painters, such as Salvador Dali, truly hypnotized by roses. For Dali, roses symbolized youth and beauty. As such, roses were also very present in Dali’s work in which he painted women with bouquets of roses. One of his well-known paintings features a rose floating in the sky, replacing the sun as the source of heat. Below the rose in the painting, a couple can be seen standing, implying that the rose also symbolizes love.
When it comes to religious interpretation, we have to mention the meaning of roses in Christianity. In this context, the rose symbolizes the Virgin Mary. Roses are also believed to symbolize the Garden of Eden, as it was filled with thornless roses. Such symbolism is closely related to original sin. The Virgin Mary is also known to be called “rose without thorns”.
Meaning of the rose tattoo: Color and symbolizes
Rose tattoos usually symbolize love, beauty and of course passion. However, depending on the size and color of the tattoo, the symbolism and meaning may change. For instance;
- white roses tattoo symbolizes innocence and purity. They can also represent something sacred, divine, fragile, ethereal, eternal, and completely angelic in nature. As such, white roses are used to symbolize pure, unadulterated and unreserved love. It can also be used to symbolize the religious deity, the sanctity of their belief, and much more.
- red roses The tattoo symbolizes deep and unquenchable love and passion, romance and is often considered the most traditional and universal symbol of love. When it comes to tattoo designs, two red roses can symbolize unity and love between two people, as well as the beauty of unity, togetherness, and passion.
- yellow roses The tattoo symbolizes joy, celebration, good times, and all the sunshine and positivity in our lives. These roses can also symbolize the relationship we have with ourselves, our self-care, and how capable we are of taking care of ourselves and others. Yellow roses also represent luck, warmth, happiness and, alongside red roses, even good luck in romance and relationships.
- black roses the tattoo symbolizes the loss of love, its loss in general, and can even serve as a reminder of death. They have a generally dark and dark meaning, but can also be seen as a source of mysterious beauty, eternal pain, or even strength to overcome pain. Associated with other roses, the meaning of black roses can be elevated to the meaning of farewell, tragedy, tragic love, or even power and trust.
- blue roses tattoo usually symbolizes the unattainable. They can also symbolize feelings, sensitivity, unrequited love, desire, etc.
- pink roses the tattoo symbolizes grace, elegance, softness, refinement and femininity. They can also indicate happiness, contentment, being satisfied and happy with your relationship and your life. Pink roses also symbolize intensity, love, passion, as well as comfort, softness and welcoming new experiences, love and happiness. Many also say that pink roses symbolize sympathy and admiration, but this meaning varies depending on the shade of pink.
Additionally, a rosebud tattoo, regardless of color, can symbolize a fresh start, a fresh start, and the path to growth and maturity. It can also symbolize the fulfillment of a dream, something that comes to fruition and finally comes to an end. Generally, people get rosebud tattoos to show the life stages of a rose which symbolizes the stages of our own life, the struggle we go through to grow and mature; the struggle we lead to flourish and become the best version of ourselves.
The rose tattoo signifies changes across cultures and countries
Even though roses have a general and universal meaning and symbolism that everyone recognizes and understands, the meaning of a rose tattoo can however change from country/culture to country. Here are some examples;
- In Central America, rose tattoos often symbolize affiliation with a specific gang or even a cartel. Roses in general also symbolize aggression, someone being an enemy, death, mafia and all similar things. Walking around with a rose tattoo in Central America is sure to raise some eyebrows.
- In Japan, a rose tattoo symbolizes hope, love, and passion. Japanese rose tattoos are incredibly beautiful and showcase the emotion behind the rose and its symbolism.
- In Ireland, a black rose is considered a patriotic symbol, dating back to the 16th century. The patriotic symbolism comes from one of the most famous Irish political songs called Róisín Dubh. Even today, the black rose has the same symbolism.
- In Russia, a rose tattoo usually implies mafia affiliation or it can have a deeper, more philosophical meaning like fleeting youth, snatched youth, loss of innocence, etc.
I hope our insight into the world of roses, rose tattoos and the meaning and symbolism together was helpful. We’ve gathered a lot of information, but we didn’t want to suffocate you with too much information.
Of course, for more information on the specific meaning of a tattoo design, be sure to speak to your tattoo artists. They will know best what a specific design stands for, or what it could stand for alongside your unique design addition. And remember, a tattoo will have whatever meaning you want it to have. Sure, it can trigger universal interpretations, but by creating a unique design with a tattoo artist, every tattoo design can become your own, even something as common as a rose tattoo design.
Also Read: 100+ Guide to Most Popular Tattoo Meanings: Creatures (Not Just Animals) Are Most Popular
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