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A garland is a decorative braid, knot or wreath of flowers, leaves, or other material. Garlands can be worn on the head or around the neck, hung on an inanimate object, or laid in a place of cultural or religious importance.

Tinsel garlands on a Christmas tree


From the French guirlande, itself from the Italian ghirlanda, a braid.[1]

A daisy chain


Regional practices

Indian subcontinent

Heavy flower garlands for sale in Chennai, India

In countries of the Indian subcontinent, such as India and Pakistan, people may place garland around the necks of guests of honour, as a way of showing respect to them.[3] Garlands are worn by the bridegroom in South Asian weddings.[4]


A garlanded image of Devi at the Jain temple of Sravanbelagola

Garlands were historically purely secular at first, sought for their fragrance and beauty and used for decorating houses, roads, and streets.[5] It is eventually applied to Hindu deities as an important and traditional role in every festival where these garlands are made using different fragrant flowers (often jasmine) and leaves.[6] Both fragrant and non-fragrant flowers and religiously-significant leaves are used to make garlands to worship Hindu deities. Some popular flowers include:

House main door frame decorated with door frame garland (Nila Maalai) during a Housewarming party in Tamil Nadu

Apart from these, leaves and grasses like arugampul, maruvakam, davanam, maachi, paneer leaves, lavancha are also used for making garlands. Fruit, vegetables, and sometimes even currency notes are also used for garlands, given as thanksgiving.

Wedding ceremonies in India include the bride and groom wearing a wedding garland. On other occasions, garlands are given as a sign of respect to an individual person or to a divine image.

A gajra is a flower garland which women in India and Bangladesh wear in their hair during traditional festivals. It is commonly made with jasmine. It can be worn around a bun, as well as in braids. Women usually wear these when they wear sarees. Sometimes, they are pinned in the hair with other flowers, such as roses.

Traditional Indian Girl with Garland
South India

In ancient times, Tamil kings employed people to manufacture garlands daily for a particular deity. These garlands were not available for public consumption.

In contemporary times, each Hindu temple in southern India has a nandavanam (flower garden) where flowers and trees for garlands are grown. Large Shiva temples like Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Thyagaraja Temple, Tiruvarur, and Arunachaleswara Temple, and those found in Thiruvannamalai still preserve such nandavanams for supplying flowers for daily rituals.

Stone inscriptions of Rajaraja I at Thanjavur gives details of patronage bestowed by royals to the conservation of nadavanams that belonged to the "Big Temple".[7]

Marigold and nitya kalyani garlands are used only for corpses in burial rituals. At social functions, garlands are used to denote the host.

At Srirangam Ranganathar temple, only garlands made by temple sattharars (brahmacaris employed for garland-making) are used to adorn the deity Ranganatha. Garland and flowers from outside the temple grounds are forbidden. Sattarars have several disciplinary rules for many aspects of their profession, some of which include:

While making garlands, the sattarars keep flowers and other materials on a table in order to keep them away from the feet, which are traditionally viewed as unclean and unfit for use in a religious context. Material is always kept above hip level.

South Indian garlands are of different types. Some of them are as follows:

Each Hindu deity has a unique garland:

The tradition of garlanding statues as a sign of respect extends to respected non-divine beings, including ancient King Perumbidugu Mutharaiyar II and the innovative colonial administrator Mark Cubbon.[8][9]


A reference to a garland is found in the Nepalese national anthem, Sayaun Thunga Phulka. The first line reads, "Woven from hundreds of flowers, we are one garland that's Nepali."


In Christian countries, garlands are often used as Christmas decorations, such as being wrapped around a Christmas tree.[10]

In literature

This section contains a list of miscellaneous information. Please relocate any relevant information into other sections or articles. (November 2020)
Roman fresco of a woman with red hair wearing a garland (or chaplet) of olives, from Herculaneum, made sometime before the city's destruction in 79 AD by Mount Vesuvius (which also destroyed Pompeii).

See also


  1. ^ Mackay, Charles (1877). The Gaelic Etymology of the Languages of Western Europe: And More Especially of the English and Lowland Scotch, and Their Slang, Cant, and Colloquial Dialects. Trübner. p. 100. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "Make a Daisy Chain". BBC Gardening. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  3. ^ Crawford, William Henry (1909). Thoburn and India: Semicentennial Sermon and Addresses Delivered at the Thoburn Jubilee, Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Bishop James M. Thoburn's Sailing for India. Eaton & Mains. p. 48.
  4. ^ Pakistan Journal of History and Culture, Volume 19. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research. 1998. p. 92.
  5. ^ Bais, Mitraja (1 December 2017). "Mala: The floral garlands of India". Garland. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
  6. ^ Singh Randhawa, Gurcharan (1986). Floriculture in India. Allied Publishers. p. 606. ISBN 8170230578.
  7. ^ "Thanjavur Periya Kovil - 1000 Years, Six Earthquakes, Still Standing Strong". Tamilnadu. 2014-01-27. Archived from the original on 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  8. ^ "Cubbon garlanded in hush-hush ceremony in front of High Court". Bangalore Mirror. The Times of India Group. 2013-08-24. Retrieved 2017-10-15. It was the first time since independence that Cubbon has been honoured thus. The group strongly feels Cubbon deserves it; they credit him with being one of the architects of Bangalore and Mysore.
  9. ^ Correspondent, Special (2016-05-24). "Leaders garland Mutherayar statue". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 2017-10-15. Collector K.S. Palanisamy led the district administration officials in paying respects to 'Perumpidugu' Mutharayar by garlanding the statue at Othakadai Junction in the morning.
  10. ^ Jones, Owen (2016). Decorating Your Home. Megan Publishing.
  11. ^ Sirach 32:2: New Revised Standard Version
  12. ^ Skinner, J. (1897-1898), Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Isaiah 28, accessed 4 July 2023
  13. ^ Chapter XXX
  14. ^ Nesbit, E., The Railway Children, chapter IX