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The rose is “The flower” par excellence, so loved for its perfumes, colors and beneficial properties, to become an absolute symbol of purity and faith.
The flower of Venus and Mary
The genus Rosa is native to Asia but spread all over the world, allowing this flower to become an integral part of the culture of many different peoples, consequently assuming extremely varied meanings. The first rose gardens date back to ancient Babylon, however the Greek world will be the first to give it the fame we still know today. In fact, among the Hellenes, it will soon become the “flower of Aphrodite”, thus being included in various works which will further increase its prestige and fame. Indeed, in Ovid’s “The Metamorphoses”, the protagonist is pushed by Venus herself to eat a sacred garland, the only remedy to recover her lost humanity.
With the fall of the pagan gods, the value of the rose remained intact, becoming a symbol of the saint par excellence: Mary. Soon she was associated and glorified more and more with this flower, so much so that the rosary was born precisely to pay homage to the mother of Jesus, making reference, not by chance, to the very famous flowers. Because of its shape, then, it was also included as a symbol of countless Christian mystical confessions that further raised its prestige.
The flower of Islam
If the impact it had in the Christian-European world was incredible, even more so was the impact it had in the Persian world, in which it literally imposed itself in every field of daily life. The rose, in fact, was not only known for its extreme grace and beauty, but also for the multitude of benefits derived from it, constant enrichment for its owners. Since ancient times, in fact, perfumes and ornaments were produced from it, but also an incredible amount of food, still absolutely present in Turkish cuisine.
With the Ottomans, the rose will reach its peak of glory, becoming one of the most used symbols to celebrate the prophet Muhammad and the sultans, as well as the main ingredient for any ritual purification, including that of Mecca, carried out just before the annual pilgrimage. Among the great poets who deal with it, it is impossible not to mention Rumi, who wrote it: “What is the scent of rose? The breath of reason and intelligence, sweet guide on the way to the immortal kingdom.” Today most of all the roses in the world are produced in Bulgaria, a territory long under Ottoman domination, which every year manufactures about 85% of the world production.
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