- Medieval and later poets constantly used the red rose to symbolize sexual love, pleasure, and woman's beauty; these meanings are still well understood, e.g. red roses are given to a woman, paper rose petals are thrown as confetti. It was also a medieval custom to wear coronets of roses (or other blossoms) as festive adornments; this survives as the bridal wreath. However, this flower rarely figures in folk customs, presumably because its period of blooming is so short; the only magical belief about it was that if a girl picks a rose on *Midsummer Eve, wraps it up, and finds it unfaded on Christmas Eve, her lover is true (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 332). Nowadays, roses are thought appropriate to all forms of love; they may be laid on a coffin, a rose bush planted as a memorial to the dead, etc.
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
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