Since ages, flowers are related to all religions. Flowers look enchanting and their aroma is simply magnificent. In European culture, flowers like the Lotus was a symbol of Rebirth. It was also considered as a symbol of unification between the kingdoms of Egypt. With the evolution of mankind, flowers are still used for their connotations. Certain colors of flowers carried symbolic meanings. Here we will discuss the importance and meaning of flowers in major religions around the world.
Flowers and Islam
Flowers in Islam held profound significance in poetic exchanges. Elements like shade, running water and foliage held a belief of physical as well as spiritual refreshment amongst Islamic people. Prominent people of Islam like Abd al-Rahman was heavily fond of flowers and plants. He even used to send his people to other parts of the world to procure rare flowers. During earlier times, Islamic Garden involved citrus trees for orange blossoms which provide tranquillity during meditation. The artworks in the religious places were decorated with many types of flower images and patterns of floral.
Several flowers were specifically used for their healing abilities. The Fennel flower plant of the buttercup family provides the Black seed. As quoted in Quran, it acts as a cure for almost every disease. It is known by various names across the world and has been in use for more than two thousand years. Oil extracted from this seed is used for preparing many formulae of medicines. It acts as a perfect cure for treating bronchitis and coughs.
Perfumes made from roses were used in Muslim culture, while today, rose water is sprinkled on the dead bodies during their final ceremony.
Honey is widely used today as rich syrup consisting of essential nutrients like proteins. Carbohydrates and large amounts of vitamins C, D, E .It is mainly preferred for a healing of body and to provide much-needed energy to the body.
Flowers of Ruscus aculeatus are well known for their therapeutic abilities in Arab and Islamic culture. It is used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
The Henna plant produces flowers from which dark dye can be extracted to be put on skin and hair.
Flowers and Christianity
In Christianity, different flowers held a different meaning. The Daffodil flower due to its perennial nature is considered as a sign of rebirth, a process in which Christians firmly believe after the death of human life.
Both Red and white roses had a significant importance. Red roses were a symbol of love and sacrifice as portrayed during the event of Christ crucifixion. The 5 petals of rose symbolise the wounds of Christ during his crucifixion.
The Lily flower demonstrated values of innocence, chastity, while its male counterpart symbolises strength and power in Christian culture.
White Roses are considered a romantic way to express feelings for a man to his wife. They are also a perfect connotation for expressing a man’s sincere affections, love to his women. Brides carried a bouquet of flowers with themselves while walking the aisle which was and is still considered as a sign of virginity. Other important events in lives of Christians like baptism, funerals often have significant usage of flowers.
The Passion Flower refers to the passion of Christ to help people during his time and his ability to withstand the toughest of times. The flower was also sought to bring relief from anxiety, inflammation, lower blood pressure, depression and for aiding sleep. The flower increases GABA and lowers brain cells responsible for anxiety and depression.
Flowers and Hinduism
A variety of flowers is used in Hinduism. Flowers are an intimate part of all the holy rituals, weddings, and other events in the life of Hindu people. Also, each deity is considered to have a favourite flower for itself.
Jasmine was considered as the favourite flower for Lord Vishnu. Its aroma is known to have a soothing effect on the nervous system. During marriages, the flower signifies a deep and everlasting bond between the bride and groom while also welcoming the new life journey about to take place between them.
Marigold flowers are used for decorating homes during auspicious occasions and festivals. During Navratri seasons, people adorn their vehicles with beautiful marigold flowers. During festivals of Dussehra, it states the victory of good over evil as did by Lord Rama over Ravana.
Lotus has the ability to grow into a beautiful flower while its roots are located in the dirt of mud. According to Hindu religion, this symbolises as a way of living life by detachment with all the dirt that comes by living only a materialistic life. The flower pronounces attributes such as fertility and innocence. The Red Lotus is considered as a seating bed for Goddess Lakshmi while Goddess Saraswati sits on the White Lotus according to Hindu Traditions. The Lotus is also the National Flower of India.
Roses were considered to display love, sensuality, erotica in Hindu mythology. The newlywed's room is often decorated with this flower so as to create an atmosphere of romance between the two. Rose water is often used as a cleanser for the skin and aids in removing dirt, oil from the clogged pores of the skin.
Hibiscus flower is often sought as the favourite flower for Lord Ganesha. The Red colour signifies both mental and physical strength, desire for procreation while at the same time it also portrays trust, loyalty. Goddess Kali is often worshipped with this flower and its red colour demonstrates the fierceness for enemies within her.
Apart from above, many different flowers are considered significant for different deities. Tulasi is a widely used flower for worshipping rituals. There are also flowers which are categorised on the basis of their colour, fragrance, and shape. These include Sattva, Rajas and Tamas Flowers. The Sattva flowers include white lotus, jasmine, Coral tree while the Rajas includes the likes of Red lotus, thorn apple flowers etc. Sattva and Rajas are considered for daily offerings while the use of Tamas Flowers is only during some special occasions like festivals.
Flowers and Buddhism
Just like in Hinduism, Lotus flower represents purity, innocence, and wisdom in Buddhism. The flower is also used for medicinal purposes. Different colours of lotus flower have different meanings. Fully Bloomed Lotus demonstrates enlightenment and self-awareness.
Udumbara flower holds a special meaning in the hearts of Buddhists because it is rarely found across the globe. They are often said to bloom once in 3000 years. According to the beliefs, the blooming of this flower in approximate 3000 years heralds the arrival of an enlightened being like Buddha. The flower is fixed to the thin stem is surprisingly resilient.
This flower is grown from the family of Indian coral tree. It has three stemmed leaf which depicts the values of Hindu culture also. They are mainly used for decoration and for numerous medicinal qualities.
As can be seen, flowers have a deep significance and connotations with almost all the religions of the world. Flowers provide us not just their beauty, but aids in raising our spiritual awareness about life, death, reincarnation etc. and help us to feel deeply connected with Mother Nature. Also with the rise of technology in the field of medicines, more and more flowers are now being utilised for the extraction of chemicals for making medicinal formulae. In our daily lives flowers helps to convey our affections and sincerity while also allowing us to feel vibrant. For reproduction of plants, flowers play an essential role during pollination which attracts insects and bees. In cooking, flowers provide unique flavour and edible flowers are often used as a way for garnishment of dishes or recipe. Flowers like Roselle are rich in ascorbic acid and increases blood flow to the skin.