The Colors of Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is known around the world as an opportunity to celebrate love. Red, pink or white roses and humorous or sentimental cards are the typical gifts exchanged. In America, jewelry has also become a popular love token. However, almost any present wrapped in Valentine colors is acceptable.

Red roses symbolize energy, passion and deep love. Traditionally, they are reserved for intimate, romantic relationships. From earliest times, a red rose has been valued for its fragrance and beauty. Giving this lovely crimson creation to a friend for Valentine’s Day could send the wrong message and create an awkward situation.

Pink roses might be a better choice for a friend or family member. This color speaks of affection, sweetness and understanding. Since pink is actually created by combining red and white, some consider pink to be the representation of innocence and virginity. Light pink can represent grace, gentility, admiration and friendship. Dark pink, on the other hand, leans more toward gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness.

White roses symbolize spiritual love, purity, reverence and humility. They can also connote faithfulness, a valuable component in any love relationship.

The tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day has many legends. A common one is the story of the priest, St. Valentine, who was martyred in the third century for marrying young couples against the emperor’s decree. While traditions and stories have changed throughout the years, the primary colors for flowers or gift wrappings and cards have remained the same.

However, since rose colors each have their own messages, many gift-givers prefer to offer a shade that is especially significant to the relationship or one that is a favorite choice of the recipient. The following colors can still be meaningful Valentine gifts:

  • Purple, lavender—This color is an announcement that the giver has fallen in love with the recipient at first sight. It also symbolizes enchantment and originality.
  • Coral—The color of desire.
  • Orange, apricot—The colors of enthusiasm and fascination.
  • Yellow—Presents a “Welcome Back” sentiment—as in “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree.” Yellow also speaks of gladness, joy and friendship.
  • Peach—Sympathy, sincerity, gratitude and modesty are all represented by this multipurpose color.

Specific color combinations can also carry an important message:

  • Red and white speak of unity.
  • Yellow and orange reflect thoughts of passion.
  • Red and yellow are celebratory colors that offer congratulations.

“Blue” and “black” roses do not really exist in the natural world, and they are not the best choices for this holiday. Blue roses represent the unattainable or impossibility of a situation. Dark red, or black, roses can symbolize rebirth and new life, but they are more often associated with death and saying farewell.

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful occasion to remember your loved ones with flowers and cards. It is also one of the most difficult days of the year for those who are feeling unnoticed and alone. Consider reaching out to someone who might be dreading the very same day you are anticipating. There are certainly enough rose colors to pick from to communicate an important message—that you care.