More Than Pretty Flowers
Camera info: Fuju Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 2.8 • 1/100 sec
Sights like these are very common outside Indian Hindu temples. I met these sweet lady while she was trying to sell me flowers. A variety of flowers are used in Hindu worship practices, and the carnation garlands she is making are one of the more popular choices. Other popular flowers used include lotus, plumeria, jasmine, roses, tulasi, sampangi (Indian lily), mums and marigolds. Many Indians make a good living selling floral bouquets, garlands, loose flowers, and powders for a variety of Hindu worship ceremonies. The flowers can also be used to honor guests (I have been given them a few times when arriving at places in India), for weddings and other celebrations, and of course, just for decoration.
When visiting the temple, I saw Indian worshipers bringing various items for prayer, or puja. The flowers, fruits, and sweets were supposed to symbolize bounty from the natural world. Merchants outside the temples sold them wrapped in banana leaves or other organic containers. When the worshipers finished their ceremonies, many were given a red powder mark, or tilak, on their forehead that symbolized blessing. The woman in the picture is sporting one as well. Who knew that flowers could have so many uses besides just looking pretty or getting men out of the doghouse???
Do you have any other creative uses for flowers?