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Symbolism of Garlands

A garland is a decorative wreath or cord (typically used at festive occasions) which can be hung round a person’s neck ,Originally garlands were made of flowers or leaves.

Garlanding someone is a common practice among Indians and has been practiced since ancient times. It is used as a welcoming gesture or in recognition of an important functionary on a special occasion, in other words it is a way of showing respect by treating someone like a demi-God. Indian wedding ceremonies are incomplete without the garland ceremony. In olden days, the practice of swayamvar was used where princesses garlanded the person they chose as a husband. Garlands are generally made of fragrant flowers and while some flowers are considered auspicious to use during ceremonies, some are used because their fragrant properties set off subtle chemical reactions and stimulate a positive vibe. It is possible, it was a way to allow brides and grooms to relax in the days of arranged marriages when they were strangers to each other. However, it is also a way for brides and grooms to acknowledge an exchange of spiritual energies and an agreement to respect each other. The flowers are strung into a garland by means of a thread and though they eventually die, the thread does not break. The symbolism represents a promise made by the bride and groom to remain steadfast and committed to each other just like the thread that holds the flowers together, despite any ups and downs they may face during their marriage. In modern times, garlands are made using artificial material. While they may look better and last longer, the freshness of their fragrance and the resultant heady sensation is never the same. Flowers make people happy.

In India, where flower garlands have an important and traditional role in every festival, Hindu deities are decorated with garlands made from different fragrant flowers (often jasmine) and leaves. Both fragrant and non-fragrant flowers and religiously-significant leaves are used to make garlands to worship Hindu deities. Some of those flowers are as follows: jasmine, champaka, lotus, lilies, ashoka, nerium/oleander, chrysanthemum, roses, hibiscus, pinwheel flowers, manoranjini etc.

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