It is said that ‘Marriages are made in heaven’. So, what all does heaven include? Human imagination and the holy books have often included beautiful gardens as part of the heaven they know of. Indeed, the spectacular feel of fragrant flowers, fluttering butterflies, chirping birds and the vibrant greenery render peace and joy and hope, which are always part of our concept about Heaven. Of all the beautiful gifts of nature, flowers, by their silent willingness to be plucked out of the garden and their ability to adorn any place that they are put in, makes them very dear to people. Maybe this is the reason why flowers are a part of marriage across most traditions of the world.
If you travel across ages from past to present or across the globe, flowers are a part of all major events, marriages in particular. Most wedding traditions have the bride (sometimes the groom too) carrying flowers – bouquets or garlands or wristband or crowns. In some traditions it is believed that flowers ward off evil, few believe that it brings good luck, for some it pleases their concept of beauty or elegance and so on. There are numerous traditions associated with the use of flowers in wedding.
In most Christian traditions, the bride carries a bouquet to the altar. And after the marriage she tosses it across to her friends. Whoever gets it is thought to be lucky. If it is a single lady that catches it then she is thought to be the next person to get married. According to the Hindu tradition, the bride and groom exchange their flower garlands (instead of rings) during the wedding ceremony; further, flower petals are showered upon the couple indicating the blessings of the assembled crowd. Flowers are a strong part of Chinese traditions too – here the bride is given a bouquet of red flowers or a bouquet with orchids, peonies and daffodils. White flowers symbolize death / funeral in China and hence are not gifted to the bride. In the Hawaiian traditions flower garlands, ‘lei’ could be worn on the neck or wrist or ankles or hair during ceremonies. In many places the bride’s crown is studded with fresh blossoms.
There are other traditions too where flowers have a different role to play. Traditional Muslims need not necessarily use flowers for their wedding, but the Mehndi function held on the night before the wedding shows its regards for the beauty of flowers. Popular Henna designs follow different floral patterns which indicate their fondness for flowers. Further, wealthy Arabs are particularly fond of gifting beautiful long bouquets aesthetically arranged with rare flowers. Among certain other people there is a tradition of eating petals of certain flowers that are thought to have medicinal values.
Over the ages, men have found that the delicacy, fragrance and beauty of flowers make it the best choice to gift their beloved. Women have always been fond of flowers that add to their beauty of their costume or hairstyle or baskets and everything. Since ancient times, flowers have been associated with all occasions – from birth to marriage to funeral. And when it comes to Weddings, flowers have always been part of the event and an unquestionable choice of people.