Culture and religion often go hand in hand, around the world. Every different religion has certain ceremonies, traditions, and practices, and flowers are a very important part of most of the major ones. From Islam to Buddhism, here’s a look at how some of the most major world religions use flowers.
Flowers in Islamic Culture
When compared to some of the other world religions, the popularity of flowers in Islamic culture and traditions is not particularly high. In certain instances, roses are chosen for funerals and marriages along with a variety of palm leaves. Roses have been a prominent part of this religion thanks to their heavy perfume, which has been a popular part of Arab and Muslim culture for a considerably lengthy period of time. Consequently, rose water is now sprinkled over new graves at the end of the rituals and religious ceremonies.
Whole white roses are used occasionally for symbolizing virtue while jasmine can be found in funerals. The Islamic artwork put up in religious places often has an embellishment of various winding floral patterns and flower images. Islamic gardens that are specifically designed for meditative purposes, usually contain citrus trees because of their orange blossoms, which have a pleasant smell.
Leaves and flowers extracted from the henna plant are prized possessions because of the dark dye that can be extracted from them. This dye is used for decorating the hair and skin with intricate geometric patterns being drawn on the hands and feet of the bride before her wedding to signify good fortune and fertility.
Flowers in Hinduism
There are a number of reasons why Hinduism gives a special amount of importance to flowers. Puja, which is the main prayer, rites of the religion, literally means “the flower act.” The lotus has various associations and is one of the most important flowers for the Hindu community. Even at the base level, it has a deep rooted association with beauty, youthfulness, and fertility.
Moving on to a higher level, the lotus has a relation to piety and divinity. In the Holy Scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, followers followers instructed to model themselves around the lotus flower in order to maintain their sense of purity. A number of other flowers can be found as metaphorical references in numerous other scripts. There are some flowers that correspond to specific gods with their usage being limited to certain rituals and days. Certain special ceremonies, such as funerals and weddings, often feature floral garlands with jasmine being the popular choice.[caption id="attachment_910" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Source: UA.EDU[/caption]
While Christian weddings involve throwing rice over the newlyweds, fresh flower petals are used in the Hindu religion.
Flowers and Christianity[caption id="attachment_911" align="aligncenter" width="448"] Source: NCSU.EDU[/caption]
There was a time in the Christian culture when flowers were strongly associated with paganism and decadence. Ever since, the whole idea surrounding flowers has undergone a drastic change. Passion flowers are a common choice for representing the suffering and sacrifice of Christ with every individual part of the flower being a representation of the various aspects associated with the Passion of Christ.
White lilies and roses are used as a standard definition for purity. They have also been found to refer to the Virgin Mary in multiple instances with her own purity being the point of focus. Red roses are looked upon either as a sign of Christ’s blood or as a symbol of love. Flowers also have a significant role in special occasions such baptisms and funerals while their popularity in weddings cannot be ignored.
Buddhism and Flowers[caption id="attachment_912" align="aligncenter" width="585"] Source: Washington.EDU[/caption]
Buddhism is another religion where flowers are greatly revered, especially the lotus which stands as a symbol of the highest level attainable to man as far as his spiritual elevation is concerned. More than symbols of virtue and divinity, Buddhists also consider the lotus to be a metaphor for knowledge. The lotus is used in a large number of Buddhist artworks for representing Lord Buddha.
From the lotus to roses and many flowers in between, one can literally spend a lifetime exploring the various deep significances of how these natural beauties are beholden in different religions.