[Herbalist] roses

dwilson dwilson at nbnet.nb.ca
Sun Jan 26 10:03:53 PST 2003

Below is a snip from sca arts, It is the first time I have heard of the idea
that rose petal paste beads are not period. Do we have any proof this is a
period practice?

 it is not safe to assume that beads made from rose petals
are period, unless you have a good source for it.  From the file
which is an FAQ from the Paternosters (historical rosaries) group,
this quote from Lady Christian de Holacombe:


Rose-petal beads

To the best of my knowledge, the idea that rosary beads were *ever*
made of mashed-up rose petals (at least before modern times) seems to
be a myth.

Certainly you can find such beads nowadays, and they are often made
by nuns. But not all the practices of modern monastic communities are
old -- their main business after all is prayer, not history. There are
also some recipes for rose petal "pastilles," but these seem to be either a
confection (with sugar) or a form of potpourri

Rose-petal *beads* in any form seem to date from the Victorian era;
I've been asking, and would be very interested to see any
documentation of them earlier than that. (So far no one has found any
that I've heard of.) Of course, once someone thought of it, the idea
of a rosary made of roses was a very clever idea, but as far as I have
found, rose-petal rosaries seem to date no earlier than about the 1920s.

The use of actual roses, by the way, is *not* how the rosary got its
name. The word "rosary" originally meant "rose garden," and it came to be
applied to a devotion involving repetitions of the "Hail, Mary," due to a
legend: a bystander saw a young monk reciting "Hail, Marys" and as each one
dropped from his lips, it turned into a rose, which was gathered up
by the Virgin Mary standing nearby (invisible to the monk) and bound
into a garland for her head.

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