Marigolds are very popular in Indian life, weddings and festivities because they represent the sun, symbolising brightness and positive energy. Both yellow and orange marigolds are heavily used in traditional Indian wedding décor. The spiritual significance of Marigold flowers is found mostly in Hinduism but Christianity as well.
Customs and traditions
‘Torana’ means gateway in Sanskrit (तोरण – and is cognate with ‘door’ and ‘tor’ in European languages).A garland made of Mango and Marigold is used a torana in Hindu homes. The garland hangs over the threshold. This garland is changed on every festive occasion.
One strong reason for the use of the flower as a torana is that it has protective properties – has a piercing odour that keeps pests at bay (these properites have now been well documented by researchers) . So it is particularly useful in the Indian tropical climate. It also keeps insects apart from murtis, and as a garland – from people 😀
In Tamil, the flower is known as சாமந்தி (cāmanti).
Spiritual significance of Marigold
In both Christianity and Hinduism, the marigold has a lot of spiritual significance.
The flower is offered to Mother Mary on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25th of every year). This is the day when the angel Gabriel came to Mother Mary to tell her of Jesus Christ’s coming. On this day, in some traditions, marigold seeds are sown in pots as a symbol for auspiciousness and patience to await the divine.
In Hinduism too, the flower symbolises auspiciousness. The saffron/orange colour signifies renunciation and hence is offered to God as a symbol of surrender. While offering the flower one should also remember that marigold is a very hardy flower and has a stout, erect stalk (hence the scientific name of ‘erecta’) – in fact, the Sanskrit name for marigold is Sthulapushpa which signifies this. It symbolises a trust in the divine and a will to overcome obstacles. This is also why the flower assumes such importance on Vijayadashami – the day Lord Rama defeated Ravanna.
They are also associated with Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, who are considered an ideal couple in Hindu mythology.
In modern times, the flower had been chosen to symbolize the loss of life of Indian soldiers who participated in the World Wars. It became the symbol of India’s sacrifices when the world marked the centenary of the end of the First World War on November 11, 2018.
“It was felt that there was a strong need for India to have a uniquely Indian symbol that could allow citizens in India, as well as the international diaspora, to acknowledge the valour and sacrifice of the Indian armed forces in the service of the nation, including those who fell in the two world wars,” said Sqn. Ldr. Rana T.S. Chhina (retd.), Secretary, Centre For Armed Forces Historical Research at the United Service Institution of India (USI).
In line with this, the ‘India Remembers’ project initiated by the USI proposed that the marigold flower join the poppy as a uniquely Indian symbol of remembrance.
In the garden
Marigolds are a low-maintenance annual that can bring the colour of sunshine to your garden. They keep flies away abut entice butterflies, bees, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects. Give them full sun and some well-draining soil and watch them bloom from late spring until autumn.
Marigold seeds germinate quickly, within just a few days, and bloom in about 8 weeks. This quick win makes them a great first-time gardening project for kids and new gardens, not to mention new gardeners.. Marigolds are a great defender in your vegetable garden and can help protect your veggies from predators and pests.
image of Blue door and Toranahttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/