Flowers have played an important part in religious ceremonies for decades. Every religious culture uses flowers in their rituals and prayers, whether they are Hindus, Roman Catholics, Islamic, Baptists or other. Take the lotus flower for instance which is the symbol of beauty, prosperity and fertility, it has always been very important in the Hindu and Buddhist community and later was also adopted into the Christian faith representing springtime. This flower represents the spirit of the lotus and Hindus believe that it can be found in all human beings. The Hindu celebration "Puja" when translated means "the flower act" and that is why their big floats which are paraded on the streets during this festival are adorned with hundreds of flowers.
Flowers are used to decorate Temples, Churches, Altars, and to commemorate dead heroes of war among other things, but very little is known of the Celtic symbol of the flowers which up to this day remains a mystery. Flowers are used at Weddings, Funerals, Graduations, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, Anniversaries, and also as a welcome greeting for visitors to Hawaii, where they are greeted with garlands. They symbolize peace, love, happiness, friendship and achievements.
This religious history of some of the flowers and what they represent are very interesting. For instance the Holy Rosary was imaged from the Rose flowers and is supposed to be the highest honor given to the Pope. The white Madonna lily symbolizes purity and has been associated with the Virgin Mary since the days of early Christianity, and according to legend her tomb was filled with lilies after her assumption into heaven. The legend also goes on to state that the white petals represented her spotless body and the glowing stems represented her glowing soul.
The Muslim community do not use much flowers in their religious activities, except for funerals and weddings. At weddings the groom sometimes wears a head-dress made of flowers, but other than that they are not much into flowers. The Chinese community believes that their flower called "Taoism" represents beauty and is a symbol of life and happiness. Their "Red Wedding" as it is called is very powerful and all wedding gowns, invitations, envelopes, and gift boxes are all red, hence the reason for the name "Red Wedding".
The Buddhist however uses the lotus flower, which represents the highest esteem of man, strong and proud and full of worldly experience. The Buddha is said to have achieved his enlightenment somewhere in Northern India. The story goes on to state that there is a raised platform called the Jewel Promenade Shrine, and it is believed that is where he went to meditate and kept pacing back and forth while meditating. It further says that everywhere he stepped during his mediation a lotus flower would spring up, legend has it that there are 18 Lotus flowers carved on the platform.
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