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December 24, 2018

The Marigold flower holds a very important and prominent place on any occasion of celebration within the Hindu culture. It can be seen to symbolize the welcoming of an important person, an Indian Wedding ceremony, on many occasions a festival celebration and in the home traditionaly a pooja of a diety or any function. The Marigold garland is elegantly displayed, with its prominent colors, its presence makes an occasion not only beautiful, but vibrant and energetic. Most importantly, it's availability is in abundance in India, it's grown and found in India in almost every state in every place and at any time.

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The genus name for marigold (Tagetes) gets its name from the Etruscan god 'Tages' - the god of wisdom . It's  common popular name 'marigold' comes from "Mary's gold" after Mother Mary of course.

The common name used for it in many parts of India is 'Genda' The word Genda possibly comes from the 'Gonda', the tribe in Chhatisgarh where the flower is cultivated in abundance - This has not been determined to be %100 fact within Indian, but it is a common belief. 

Indian Toran

'Torana' means gateway in Sanskrit. A garland made of Mango and Marigold is used as a toranain in Hindu homes. In other words, the garland is tied to the frame of the main door of the house or in multiple entry ways in the home. This garland is changed often times just as the festivals change. Now we know there are many Hindu Celebrations so the garland can change often.

One strong reason for the use of the flower as atorana is that it has protective properties - has a piercing odor that keeps insects and other pests at bay (these properties have now been well documented by researchers. So it is particularly useful in the Indian tropical climate.

But then, when it has not so pleasant odor as the other exquisite flowers with sweet and lovely fragrance, then why is it used for worship so commonly? One reason straight comes from the above, in that when marigold is offered along with other pleasant smelling flowers, it performs the function of keeping insects from coming near the image that is being worshipped.

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The marigold has significance in both the Hindu and Christian culture. 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 symbolizes auspiciousness. The saffron/orange color 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 symbolizes 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 prevailed over Ravana - a victory of good over evil.

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 Much of this information is courtesy of 

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