Man at His Best

No Roses This Valentines, Choose Violets Instead

Roses aren't the traditional Valentine's Day flowers.

BY JUERN NG | Feb 13, 2019 | Culture

Walker Art Gallery

          The rose is red.
             The violet’s blue.
          Sugar is sweet.
             And so are you.

We continue citing the infamous Valentine’s Day poem. We continue buying the red roses. And the violets?

Annually on the 14th of February, flowers are offered to celebrate our appreciation to our loved ones. The red roses have become a common flower to symbolise abiding love and romance due to a popular myth where it was believed that the red rose was the Roman Goddess of Love, Venus' favorite flower. Another popular folklore that affiliated the red rose with love is a story about the tragedy of Adonis, Aphrodite's lover whose blood when interflowed with Aphrodite's tears sprouted rose bushes from the earth.

As the years go by, the red rose continues to become the usual option for a Valentine’s Day gift *yawns*. The emergence of Valentine's Day however, was neither to honour Venus nor Aphrodite but Saint Valentine, the patron saint of happy marriages and lovers. As it turns out, the violets carry much more sentimental value than the roses.

On his very last days in prison, Saint Valentine, wrote his last messages on violet leaves to a blind woman he fell in love with. With precious ink made of crushed violet blossoms which grew outside his prison cell, he wrote her a sonnet that regained her eyesight.

"And on the violet's velvet leaves. He pierced these lines divine... They simply said, I love you. And I'm your Valentine."

The legend of Saint Valentine posed him as a romantic figure and in time, Valentine's Day was established as an official tradition. Roses may be red but at this bittersweet legend, opt for tender purple violets instead, for they symbolise faithfulness and virtue.