Summer garlands: Jasmine at your doorstep
In the Heartland villages, the smell of jasmine is something that cannot be missed on summer nights. You can see and smell jasmine plants in every Cypriot garden. In the past women and young girls spent their afternoons picking hundreds of tiny jasmine buds, stringing them into garlands. In the evening the jasmine buds would bloom, turning garlands into fragrant necklaces and armbands.
Jasmine’s name derives from the Persian word Yasmine and the Latin word “Jasminum” from the Greek ιάσμινον (iasminon) that means “essence”. A popular love song goes: “You are as beautiful as the Jasmine at your doorstep”. Jasmine symbolizes love, beauty and innocence. Its aroma soothes the senses and makes people forget their worries and problems. It is a natural booster against depression. An old myth says that in the evening, when the jasmine smell is at its peak, we are reminded of our departed loved ones, with the majestic jasmine smell easing our pain and turning it into sweet nostalgia.
If you find yourselves in a Heartland village, you will definitely smell jasmine in the evening air. You may even get lucky enough to find someone selling jasmine garlands or you can make your own. All you need is a needle, thread and not-open jasmine buds. You can distinguish the buds that are close to blooming from their size and solid white color. No one will deny you picking some from their garden; a new batch will bloom the following night.