September 22 is celebrated as the World Rose day in the memory of Melinda Rose who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when she was 12. The Canadian girl, who had Askin’s tumour, was given just a few weeks by her doctors. However, she went on to live for six months. During this time, she spread cheer and love among other cancer patients by writing poems, letters, and emails.
Her contagious optimism in the face of a terminal disease made her a beacon of hope for other cancer patients and their loved ones. To commemorate her life and her mission to spread love, September 22 is celebrated as the World Rose day. The day is celebrated to encourage healthy conversation regarding cancer, its patients, and the caregivers of those patients. The day is also to generate awareness about the disease and how early detection of cancer can be cured on time.
This day, people give roses to cancer patients celebrating their spirit to fight the tough battle. Roses are considered a symbol of love and by giving a rose to a cancer patient, you are telling them how much you love them and support them in their difficult time.
However, there are also some myths and rituals related to rose flowers. In Christianity, rose is considered to symbolise the Garden of Eden which is God’s paradise. The fragrance of rose is known as the odour of sanctity for Catholic Christians who call it the presence of a spiritual holiness in their lives.
For ancient Romans, the rose was a symbol of beauty as it was the flower of Goddess of love, Venus. They also planted roses on the graves to symbolise death and rebirth. In Islam, the flower is considered to symbolise a human soul and its fragrance represents the sacredness of one’s soul.
In India, people also use rose water to sprinkle on guests as they arrive for cooling and refreshing. According to Harvard Art Museums, the tradition came to India through Mughals from Iran where the Ab Pashan festival is celebrated.
In this Iranian festival, rosewater is sprinkled to evoke the feeling of rainfall and ward off the famine. As the Mughal brought this tradition to India, it was soon adopted by the Rajput courts also where the refreshing and fragrant rose water brought respite in summers.