Tis almost spring and soon the rose bushes will bloom.
Most of us have at onetime or another sent flowers to someone and aside from the written wishes of love, or sympathy or get well, flowers, especially roses, have a language all of their own.
The burgundy rose, for instance, signifies simplicity and beauty. A yellow rose, infidelity and a white rose full of buds means secrecy.
Flower language has often been carried into art and architecture. On the carved trim work of many old mansion dining rooms and sometimes on the ceiling you can find sculpted white roses.
It is to remind the guests that any conversation uttered there under the influence of drink is to be kept private.
The Latin expression is “Sub Rosa.” It translates to under the rose and it mans in strict confidence.
How did all this get started?
In Greek mythology, it seems Cupid gave Harpocrates, the god of silence, a white rose to bribe him not to betray the loves of Venus. Harpocrates accepted the rose and the flower eventually became an emblam of silence, but the ancient Greeks made a mistake. They borrowed the god Harpocrates from the Egyptians thinking he was the god of silence because he kept a finger over his mouth. In ancient Egypt that was a sign of youth, not silence.
History stuck with the wrong god for keeping secrets.
It’s no wonder no one can keep them.