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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Flowers have always been synonymous with Gods, deities, rituals, festivals, and celebrations. While most of the flowers look beautiful and smell sweet, there are a few that are the chosen ones – by Gods and their devotees – since olden times. This is what makes them sacred today and gives them a religious appeal. Here are five sacred flowers and the myths related to them.

Lotus

This pink aquatic flower has found its way into mythology and has gained respect due to its ability to remain pure and clean despite growing in the marsh and muck. Lotus has a strong relevance to the ancient Egyptian and Asian mythology. The full bloom of the flower signifies sexual power, fertility, birth, and rebirth. The ancient Egyptians believed the goddess Isis to have been born from the Lotus. Also, they placed the Lotuses in the hands of mummies (mummified dead), which represented a new life for the departed soul.

In Asian mythology, the lotus signifies female sexual organs that give a new life or are responsible for a new birth. In Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) is seen holding and standing on a lotus, as it is believed that She is born from the Lotus, and hence, it is considered to be a sacred flower. Even god Brahma, the creator of the universe and the first god of Hindus, is believed to be lotus born – one more reason for the Hindus to treat it as a holy flower. Lord Vishnu, an epitome of divinity and purity is named as the ‘the Lotus-Eyed One’ or ‘Kamal Nayan’ by Shiva when Vishnu offered His eyes instead to lotus. It is also believed that the lotus springs out of Vishnu’s navel when He is in a sleeping position.

Rose

Any occasion is incomplete without the presence of sweet smelling roses. Be it the Indian variety or the English variety, roses have been strong contenders to charm Gods and their sacred attributes since times immemorial. Rose has different connotations in various religions. However, all these connotations are linked to God, divinity, supremacy and divine souls. Hindus and Buddhists consider rose as a symbol of spiritual joy, while Christians see it as a symbol of the Garden of Eden, a paradise of the world that reflected God. For Muslims, the flower is a symbol of the human soul.

Not only the flower but also its scent is considered sacred in many religions. In Islam, the fragrance of the rose represents the sacredness of one’s soul. In Christianity, often known as the ‘odor of sanctity’, the scent of rose reminds Catholics of the presence of spiritual holiness in their lives. For ancient Romans, the rose was a symbol of beauty and the flower of Venus – the goddess of love. Romans also planted roses on the graves as a sign of death and rebirth.

Worshipping Gods in Hindu rituals is incomplete without offering a huge amount of flowers to the Gods – and the ornamental and auspicious rose tops it all. The Indian variety of rose, with soft, pink or red petals is the favourite among Gods and devotees, alike. According to Hindu mythology, Brahma and Vishnu debated about which can be named as the most beautiful flower – rose or lotus. Finally, both agreed that there is no other adversary to the rose as far as beauty and natural wonder is concerned. Rose extracts are used to prepare the much-admired scent of rose, which is used in making rose water, ‘attar’ and incense sticks for puja.

Marigold

Garlands, flowers or petals – marigold or ‘genda’ is one of the most celebrated flowers in Hindu mythology, rituals and festivals. The uniquely layered flowers with golden glowing blooms send out positive vibes in the surroundings even though they do not have a distinct fragrance. The orange/saffron color depicts renunciation, and hence, it is offered to gods and deities as a symbol of surrender. Marigold is often used on the occasion of Vijayadashmi, to signify trust in the Divine and the will to overcome obstacles, just like Lord Ram defeated Raavan. Bearing its origin in Mexico, the flower got its name ‘marigold’ or ‘Mary’s gold’ as it is considered to be sacred to Virgin Mary. Although sacred, marigold is known as ‘flower of the dead’ in many parts of the world as the flowers are believed to guide the souls of the dead to the celebratory altar where offerings await.

Lily

Lily, the flower which symbolizes purity and chastity mainly because of its color, finds its relevance in the ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek era. In the Near East, the flower was associated with Ishtar, a virgin goddess of fertility and creation. Lily was associated with the queen of gods, who is known as Hera amongst the Greeks and Juno amongst the Romans. As a symbol of Mary, the virgin mother, Lily was adopted as a sacred sigil by the Christians. If you refer to the old paintings, the angel Gabriel is seen handing a lily to Mary, which signifies purity.

Carnation

Carnations literally mean flowers of Gods. Romans believed that when Mother Mary saw a crucified Jesus, the tears which fell from her eyes on the earth turned into carnations. Hence, the Romans paid tribute to the statues of Roman Gods by offering them the sacred carnations. In England, the flowers were believed to prevent death. In Korea, carnations are used to predict future; three carnations placed on the top of the head are a form of divination. Out of the three flowers, the one which withers first shall depict the phase wherein the person may have to suffer the most. In France, carnations are believed to bring bad-luck and misfortune.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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