What Does Garland Symbolize: The Meaning Behind This Decorative Item

Garlands have been a symbol of joy, celebration, and honor for centuries. But what exactly does a garland symbolize? For those who may not be familiar, a garland is a decorative wreath or string of flowers or leaves used to adorn spaces or as a symbol of victory, achievement, or commemoration. From ancient Greeks and Romans to modern-day celebrations, garlands have played a significant role in many cultures.

In Hinduism, garlands are used in both religious and social events to symbolize love, respect, and hospitality. They are often made with fragrant flowers and given as offerings to the gods and goddesses as a way to show devotion and gratitude. On the other hand, garlands made from lemon and green chilies are believed to ward off evil eye in Hindu culture. In Hawaiian culture, garlands made from flowers and leaves are called “Lei” and are often given as gifts to welcome visitors or to celebrate special occasions.

The versatility and universal appeal of garlands have made them a popular decorative item used in many occasions. Whether it’s a wedding, graduation, or just a casual get-together, a beautiful garland brings life and color to any event. So, next time you see a garland, take a moment to appreciate the symbolism behind it and the traditions it represents.

The History of Garland as a Decorative Element

Garlands have been used for decorative and ceremonial purposes since ancient times. The word “garland” originated from the Old English word “gyrlonde,” which meant a wreath of flowers or leaves. Over the years, garlands have evolved from simple natural materials like leaves and flowers to more intricate designs made from fabrics, beads, and other materials.

The use of garlands can be traced back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In Egypt, garlands made from lotus flowers were used in religious ceremonies, while in Greece and Rome, garlands made from olive branches and laurel leaves were used to crown athletes and military heroes.

  • Garlands in Religious Ceremonies
  • Garlands in Greek and Roman Culture
  • Garlands in Medieval Times

In medieval times, garlands were used in festivals and celebrations, particularly during the Christmas season. Evergreen garlands were hung in homes and churches as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the coming year. The use of garlands in Christmas celebrations has continued to this day, with many homes and businesses displaying garlands of Christmas lights and decorations.

Garlands have also been used as a symbol of love, particularly in weddings. In ancient times, wedding garlands were made from flowers and herbs thought to bring good luck and happiness to the couple. Today, garlands made from silk flowers and ribbons are popular decorations for weddings and other special occasions.

Overall, garlands have a rich history as a decorative element in many cultures and have evolved over time to become a versatile and popular decoration for a variety of occasions.

Cultural significance of garland in different parts of the world

Garlands have been used for centuries in various cultures around the world for decorative, religious, and festive purposes. Let’s explore the cultural significance of garlands in different parts of the world.

  • India: In India, garlands hold great cultural significance and are used in religious ceremonies, weddings, and other auspicious occasions. Made with flowers, leaves, and even fruits, they are considered a symbol of purity, good luck, and prosperity. Garlands are also used to welcome guests and dignitaries as a gesture of respect and hospitality.
  • Hawaii: In Hawaii, garlands are known as Leis and are traditionally made with flowers or nuts strung together with a thread. Leis are worn around the neck or presented as a token of love, friendship, or respect. They are also used for welcoming visitors and are considered a symbol of the Aloha spirit – love, affection, and mutual regard for all.
  • Mexico: In Mexico, garlands are a significant part of the Day of the Dead Festival, which is a celebration of life and death. The garlands made of marigold flowers, also known as Cempasuchil, are used to decorate altars and tombs to guide the souls of the departed to the realm of the living. The marigold flowers are believed to possess a strong scent, which helps the spirits find their way back to their loved ones.

Besides these, garlands are also used in various other cultures like China, Japan, and Greece for their cultural and symbolic significance.

Here’s a table summarizing the cultural significance of garlands in different parts of the world:

Culture Garland Type Significance
India Flowers, leaves, fruits Purity, good luck, and prosperity
Hawaii Flowers, nuts Love, friendship, respect, and the ‘Aloha’ spirit
Mexico Marigold flowers Used in Day of the Dead Festival to guide souls of the departed

Garlands have deep cultural roots and carry significant meaning in various parts of the world. They not only represent beauty and positivity but also showcase the diversity and richness of our world’s cultures.

Importance of Garland in Religious Ceremonies and Traditions

Garlands are a significant element in many religious ceremonies and traditions. They are used as a symbol of respect, purity, and loyalty. The fragrant garlands are believed to have purifying properties that help cleanse the mind, body, and soul. They are also an expression of devotion and gratitude towards gods and goddesses. In this article, we will highlight the importance of garland in religious ceremonies and traditions.

  • Garland in Hinduism: In Hinduism, garlands hold immense significance. They are used extensively in puja and other religious rituals. The garlands are made up of various flowers, each flower symbolizing a different emotion and deity. For instance, marigold flowers are used to please Lord Hanuman, while jasmine is used for Lord Shiva. The garlands are also used as offerings to deities.
  • Garland in Buddhism: In Buddhism, garlands are used to honor the Buddha and other deities. They are used in various rituals, such as meditation, praying, and offering. The garlands are made up of colorful flowers that represent the Buddhist teachings of interconnectedness and interdependence.
  • Garland in Christianity: In Christianity, garlands are used during Christmas celebrations. These garlands are made up of holly branches, pine cones, and berries. They symbolize hope, peace, and love. The garlands are also used to decorate the church during the holiday season.

The above examples highlight the importance of garland in religious ceremonies and traditions. They are not just a decoration but hold immense spiritual significance. Garlands are a way of offering our gratitude, love, and devotion to the divine. These garlands have been used for centuries and are an essential part of our culture and heritage.

Garlands are not just limited to flowers; they can also be made up of leaves, fruits, and even grains. They can have different meanings in different cultures and contexts. However, the common thread among them is that they are an expression of our faith and devotion.

Flowers and their Significance Religion
Marigold – Symbolizes purity, love and devotion Hinduism
Jasmine – Symbolizes humility, grace, and beauty Hinduism
Roses – Symbolizes love, devotion, and beauty Christianity
Lotus – Symbolizes purity, enlightenment, and detachment Buddhism

In conclusion, garlands play a vital role in religious ceremonies and traditions. They are not just a decoration but hold immense spiritual significance. They are an expression of our faith, devotion, and gratitude towards the divine. The significance of garlands varies across cultures and religions, but the common thread among them is the intention behind the offering.

Materials used to make garland and their symbolism

Garlands are decorative wreaths or swags made from various materials and used to embellish staircases, doorways, windows, and fireplaces. Often used to celebrate holidays and events, garlands are made from a wide variety of materials, each with its own symbolic meaning. The materials used in garlands have significant cultural and historical importance and are indicative of the traditions and beliefs of the people who created them.

  • Evergreens: Garlands made of evergreens are popular during the winter holiday season and symbolize the eternal nature of life. Evergreens were believed to hold magical powers and were often used in pagan rituals to ward off evil spirits. Today, evergreen garlands are used to celebrate Christmas and represent hope, new beginnings, and everlasting life.
  • Flowers: Garlands made of flowers are often used for weddings, religious ceremonies, and other special occasions. Different flowers have different meanings, and the selection of flowers used in a garland may be chosen based on their symbolism. For example, roses symbolize love, while daisies symbolize innocence and purity.
  • Fruit: Garlands made of fruit were popular in ancient times and were used to celebrate the autumn harvest. Fruit symbolizes abundance, prosperity, and fertility, and garlands made of fruit were often hung in homes to bring good fortune. Today, fruit garlands are used to decorate tables at Thanksgiving and other fall celebrations.

Metallic elements such as tinsel and beads are also used in garlands. Tinsel symbolizes light and is a popular material used during the Christmas season. Beads symbolize wealth and prosperity and have been used in garlands for centuries.

Material Symbolism
Evergreens Eternal life, hope, new beginnings
Flowers Love, innocence, purity
Fruit Abundance, prosperity, fertility
Tinsel Light
Beads Wealth, prosperity

Garlands serve as an important cultural and religious symbol in many societies. The selection of materials used to make a garland is important and has significant meaning. By understanding the symbolism of the materials used, we can gain a greater appreciation for the rich cultural traditions associated with garlands.

The Evolution of Garland Designs Through the Centuries

Garland, a decorative wreath of flowers, leaves, or other material, has been used as a symbol of festivity and celebration since ancient times. Over the centuries, the design and use of garlands have evolved, reflecting the changing cultural and religious practices of different societies.

The Symbolism of Garlands

  • In ancient Greece and Rome, garlands were used as symbols of honor and victory. Athletes, soldiers, and leaders were crowned with wreaths made of olive branches, laurel, or oak leaves.
  • In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, garlands made of flowers or beads are offered to deities and gurus as a sign of devotion and reverence.
  • In Christian iconography, garlands of thorns and flowers are associated with the suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • In modern times, garlands are often used as decorative elements in weddings, parties, and other festive occasions. They can be made of fresh or artificial flowers, greenery, ribbons, or paper.
  • Garlands are also used in cultural and ethnic celebrations, such as the Hawaiian lei, the Indian malai, and the Mexican papel picado.

The Evolution of Garland Designs

The design and materials used in garlands have changed over time, reflecting the artistic and technological advances of different eras. Some examples of the evolution of garland designs are:

  • In ancient Egypt, garlands made of lotus flowers, papyrus, and palm leaves were often used in religious ceremonies and funerary rituals.
  • In medieval Europe, garlands made of herbs and spices called “strewing herbs” were used to cover floors and mask odors in large public spaces.
  • In the Renaissance, garlands made of fruit, flowers, and foliage were used to decorate banquet halls and aristocratic homes.
  • In the Victorian era, garlands made of paper or silk flowers, ribbons, and lace were used to embellish clothing, accessories, and home decor.
  • In the modern era, garlands made of LED lights, balloons, and other innovative materials have become popular for festive occasions.

The Future of Garland Designs

As technology and creativity continue to advance, the possibilities for garland designs are limitless. From sustainable materials like recycled paper and natural fibers to interactive and animated designs, garlands will continue to evolve as symbols of celebration, unity, and beauty.

Material Design
Recycled paper Paper flower garlands
Natural fibers Woven garlands
LED lights Light-up garlands
Interactive technology Sound and motion-activated garlands

As garlands continue to evolve, they will remain a timeless symbol of joy, hope, and love in all cultures and traditions.

How Garland is Used in Modern Home Decor

Garlands are an easy and effective way to enhance the aesthetics of one’s home interior. As versatile decorative pieces, they can be draped over staircases, placed on mantles or used as a centerpiece on dining tables to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Here we delve into their use in modern home decor.

Garland Placement Ideas

  • Wrapping garlands around banisters and railings of staircases adds a touch of elegance and charm to the home. By hanging them from the ceiling or doorway, they can create a whimsical and dreamy ambiance for parties.
  • Garlands can serve as a stylish focal point on mantelpieces by incorporating lights and ornaments. For a bohemian look, string small wooden beads and soft tassels together with your garland.
  • Adorn dining tables with garlands instead of traditional centerpieces. Incorporate elements like flowers, candles or pinecones to create season-specific displays.

The Six-Foot Rule

When decorating with garlands, it’s essential to consider the six-foot rule. This means that garlands should be at least six feet long, to make an impact in the room they are used in. However, this rule can be revised to fit the decor’s style and the available storage space.

Choosing the Right Garland

When picking out a garland for your decor, there are various options to choose from. An artificial garland is an excellent option for those not wanting to maintain it seasonally, whereas a live garland is perfect for a more natural look.

For holiday decorations, use traditional greenery garlands like pine, spruce, or cedar. Flower garlands and fruit garlands also make great choices. If opting for a DIY approach, try weaving garlands made of felt balls or paper flowers for a more personalized touch.

Creating a Theme with Garland

The garland’s style can coordinate with the room’s decor and enhance the ambiance of the home. By choosing a garland that matches the color palette of a room, one can subtly tie together the various elements in space.

Room Type Garland Accent Ideas
Living Room Twine a garland along the fireplace mantle
Kitchen Adorn dining tables with fruit or vegetable garlands
Bathroom Integrate flowers or sea-themed garlands to add a subtle touch of serenity

Overall, garlands are a versatile and economical way to add warmth, style, and festive cheer to your home interior. Incorporate seasonal accents to achieve more personalized decor that can be lasting or temporary depending on the event.

Garlands and their role in weddings and other celebratory events

Garlands are an age-old tradition that symbolizes different things across various cultures. In weddings and other celebratory events, garlands play a significant role in adding color, vibrancy, and symbolism.

The Symbolism of the Number 7 in Garlands

The number 7 is considered lucky and mystical in many cultures. It symbolizes completeness, perfection, and the cycle of life. In garlands, the number 7 is often used to represent the seven chakras, seven days of the week, or the seven heavenly bodies in astrology.

  • Seven Chakras – In Hinduism, the seven chakras are the energy centers in the human body. The chakras are represented by specific colors, and each color is incorporated into the garlands to symbolize spiritual growth.
  • Seven Days of the Week – In Christianity, the seven days of the week represent the seven days of creation. Garlands are often used in religious events to symbolize the cycle of creation and renewal.
  • Seven Heavenly Bodies – In astrology, there are seven heavenly bodies, including the sun, moon, and five planets visible to the naked eye. Garlands are used to represent the alignment of these bodies and the cosmic harmony they signify.

The Role of Garlands in Weddings

In weddings, garlands are used to symbolize the union between two individuals and their families. The bride and groom often exchange garlands as a sign of their love and commitment, and the garlands are worn throughout the ceremony as a visual reminder of their union.

Garlands are also used to decorate the wedding venue. They add color and fragrance to the space and create a festive atmosphere for the guests. In some cultures, garlands are believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the newlyweds.

The Role of Garlands in Other Celebratory Events

Garlands are used in a variety of celebratory events, such as religious festivals, cultural ceremonies, and traditional dances. In these events, garlands are used to represent different meanings and symbolize different things.

Culture Event Garland Symbolism
Indian Diwali Victory of Good over Evil
Hawaiian Hula Dance Celebration of Life and Nature
Mexican Day of the Dead Remembrance of Ancestors

Garlands are an essential part of many cultures and celebrations. They represent different meanings and symbolize different things, but they all share a common thread – the celebration of life and the world around us.

How to Make a DIY Garland

Garlands are a beautiful and versatile decoration that can add color and texture to any space. They are easy to make and can be customized to suit any occasion or decor style. Below are some simple steps to make a DIY garland.


  • Twine or string
  • Scissors
  • Decorative items such as flowers, leaves, beads, or paper


1. Cut the twine or string to the desired length of the garland.

2. Select the decorative items and arrange them in the desired pattern.

3. Tie or attach the decorative items onto the twine or string.

4. Repeat step 3 until the garland is complete.

The Symbolism of the Number 8 in Garland-Making

The number 8 has significant symbolism in many cultures, representing infinity and eternity. In garland-making, the number 8 can be incorporated by using a figure-8 knot to attach decorative items onto the string or twine. This knot is not only visually pleasing but also adds an extra layer of symbolism to the garland, representing the infinite possibilities of creativity and design.

Step Image
Step 1 Figure-8 knot tutorial
Step 2 Figure-8 knot tutorial
Step 3 Figure-8 knot tutorial

Incorporating the number 8 into garland-making is a simple and meaningful way to add depth to a decoration. Whether used for a wedding, holiday, or everyday decor, a garland with a figure-8 knot can represent the infinite possibilities of creativity and design.

Different Types of Garland

Garlands have been used throughout history and across different cultures to symbolize a range of ideas and emotions, from love and celebration to the cyclical nature of life and death. Here are some common types of garlands:

  • Flower garlands: Made from fresh or dried flowers, these garlands are often used in Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies to symbolize purity, love, and devotion. In Hawaiian culture, flower garlands known as leis are given as a sign of affection or respect.
  • Fruit garlands: During the Middle Ages, fruit garlands were used as a symbol of abundance and fertility. In some cultures, such as the Tamil people of South India, fruit garlands are still used in religious ceremonies to symbolize auspiciousness and abundance.
  • Christmas garlands: These garlands are made from evergreen foliage and are a popular decoration during the holiday season. They symbolize eternal life and hope, as well as the coming of Christ. Many people also incorporate other symbols, such as ornaments or lights, into their Christmas garlands.

The Significance of the Number 9 in Garlands

In many cultures, the number 9 is considered to be a particularly auspicious number when it comes to garlands. Here are some examples:

Culture Symbolic Meaning
Chinese Nine is associated with the emperor and represents good fortune, eternity, and longevity. Nine is often used in garlands to signify wealth and prosperity.
Hindu Garlands made with nine strands of flowers are considered particularly powerful and are often used in religious ceremonies to symbolize completion, unity, and the fullness of life.
Mayan In Mayan culture, the number 9 is associated with the underworld and the cycle of life and death. Mayan garlands made with nine flowers or leaves are often used in ritual offerings to connect with the spirits of ancestors and the cycle of nature.

Whether you’re making a garland for a religious ceremony or simply as a decorative accent, considering the symbolism behind the number of strands or elements can add an extra layer of meaning to your creation.

Famous Garlands in History and Mythology

Throughout history and mythology, garlands have served various purposes and symbolized different things. Here are some of the most famous garlands:

  • Caesar’s Laurel Garland: In ancient Rome, the laurel garland was a symbol of victory and achievement. It was often worn by military commanders and athletes who had achieved great things. The most famous wearer of the laurel garland was Julius Caesar, who wore it triumphantly after his victories in battle.
  • Indian Flower Garlands: In Indian culture, flower garlands are used as decorations on statues of gods and goddesses, as well as worn during special occasions such as weddings and festivals. The type of flower used in the garland can also hold different meanings. For example, marigold garlands are often used in celebrations because they symbolize joy and happiness.
  • Ancient Greek Olympic Laurel Crown: The ancient Greeks also used laurel garlands as a symbol of victory. During the Olympic games, the winners would be crowned with a wreath made from olive branches. This was believed to bring not only honor but also good luck to the winner.
  • Mexican Dia de los Muertos Flower Garlands: During the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, flower garlands are traditionally used to honor the deceased loved ones. The garlands are often made with marigolds, which are believed to help guide the spirits back to the world of the living.

The Symbolism of Garlands

Garlands have played many roles in different cultures and traditions throughout history. Here are some of the meanings and symbolism associated with garlands:

Victory and Achievement: As seen with Caesar’s laurel garland and the ancient Greek Olympic crown, garlands have often been used to symbolize victory and achievement. They are a way to honor someone who has accomplished great things and to show respect for their hard work and dedication.

Celebration and Festivity: In many cultures, garlands are seen as a festive decoration that can be used to signify a special occasion. Whether it’s a wedding, a religious holiday, or a national celebration, garlands are a way to bring joy and beauty to the event.

Spiritual and Religious Significance: Garlands have been used in many religions and spiritual practices throughout history. In Hinduism, flower garlands are an important part of worshipping deities and honoring ancestors. In Buddhism, garlands are used to symbolize the impermanence of life and the importance of living in the present moment.

Remembrance and Respect: As seen in the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, garlands can also be used to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away. They are a way to show respect and to keep the memory of the deceased alive.

Type of Garlands Meaning and Symbolism
Laurel Garlands Victory and achievement
Indian Flower Garlands Celebration and festivity, spiritual and religious significance
Greek Olive Crown Victory and good luck
Mexican Marigold Garlands Remembrance and respect

As we can see, garlands have held different meanings across cultures and traditions. From victory and achievement to celebration and remembrance, garlands are a beautiful and meaningful way to express gratitude, honor, and respect.

What Does Garland Symbolize? FAQs

1. What is a garland?

Garland is a decorative element used in various ways to signify joy, festivity, and happiness. It typically comprises a string of leaves, flowers, or other materials that are strung together and used to decorate homes, yards, and public spaces.

2. What does garland symbolize in ancient cultures?

Ancient cultures believed garlands represented fertility, purity, and devotion. These cultures used garlands in religious ceremonies, celebrations, and rituals.

3. How is garland used in modern Western culture?

In modern Western culture, garland is commonly used during the holiday season to decorate homes, businesses, and public spaces. It symbolizes tradition, celebration, and the joy of the season.

4. What does a garland of flowers symbolize?

A garland of flowers symbolizes love, friendship, and appreciation. It is often given as a gesture of goodwill to express congratulations, condolences, or gratitude.

5. What does a garland of leaves symbolize?

A garland of leaves symbolizes growth, renewal, and nature. It is often used in eco-friendly events to promote environmental protection, and it is popular during the fall season as a symbol of harvest and abundance.

6. What does a garland of lights symbolize?

A garland of lights symbolizes hope, warmth, and celebration. It is commonly used during the holiday season to bring cheer and coziness to indoor and outdoor spaces.

7. What is the symbolism of a wedding garland?

A wedding garland, also known as a “varmala” in Indian culture, symbolizes the union of two individuals and the coming together of two families. It is made of flowers and exchanged as a demonstration of love and commitment during the wedding ceremony.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the symbolism of garlands. Whether you’re decorating your home during the holidays or attending a friend’s wedding, garlands can add a significant meaning to the occasion. Keep in mind that garlands can represent a variety of things, and their symbolism can vary based on cultural and historical contexts. We hope you found this article informative and invite you to come back for more!