Hands together, Pere-Lachaise
The rose has become the queen of flowers because of its fragrance, longevity and beauty. It has inspired lovers, dreamers and poets for countless generations. Venus, the goddess of love, claimed the rose as her own. Cleopatra stuffed pillows full of rose petals. Nero arranged for rose petals to rain down upon his guests. But the early Christians were reluctant to use the rose as one of their symbols because of its association with decadence. However, people’s love of the rose was strong and long-lived, so the Christians made some tactical adjustments and adopted the rose as one of their own symbols.
In Christian symbolism, the red rose became a symbol of martyrdom, while the white rose symbolized purity. In Christian mythology, the rose in Paradise did not have thorns but acquired them on Earth to remind man of his fall from grace; however, the rose’s fragrance and beauty remained to suggest to him what Paradise is like. Sometimes the Virgin Mary is called the rose without thornsâ because of the belief that she was exempt from original sin.
Because ivy is eternally green even in harsh conditions, it is associated with immortality and fidelity. Ivy clings to a support, which makes it a symbol of attachment, friendship and undying affection. Its three-pointed leaves make it a symbol of the Trinity.
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