Flowers take on legendary importance in India, especially the use of garlands. Flower garlands decorate statues of Hindu gods or murti as part of their rituals and denote respect. Many gods have a flower that is specific to them. Wedding couples wear
garlands during the marriage ceremony and marigolds are part of funeral rituals. Deceased ancestors’ portraits are often draped with flower garlands and women, too, wear flower garlands in their hair, especially in south India.
The wholesalers sell the flower garlands to middlemen. They often have stalls in front of Hindu temples where worshipers purchase them for their personal prayers and pujas and to decorate their altars at home.
I love that both men and women share in this fragrant world of chrysanthemums, jasmine, roses and marigolds. As long as flowers are a mainstay of a religious ritual, it follows that there is a profound respect and tenderness for mother nature and humanity’s place within that realm.