Ask A Hindu: Garland Necklace
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I see in photos of respected persons a necklace of something resembling dark brown peach pits strung together. I assume it is something special to the people and religion. Could you tell me what it is and its significance to Hindu?
India is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, with different languages, ethnicities, religions, and so on. The most common feature, found in all the occasional celebrations, is the usage of garlands.
Garlands are made from many fragrant flowers and used in marriages and elsewhere. Bride and groom are decorated with Jasmine flower garlands. Garlands are also used in temples to decorate the deities. These temple garlands are made from many different types of flowers, leaves, lemons, and donut-shaped eatables.
Garlands are a symbol of purity, beauty, devotion, and peace. Rishis (Saints) and many other people also wear garlands with big beads and sometimes big seeds of fruits. It may be to show that they have renounced the materialistic world and are concentrating with divine focus on attaining Moksha or Salvation.
Sreedharani Nandagopal followed her physician sister to Seattle in 1969. She attended University of Washington to get her Physics and engineering degree. Then, In 1975 went back to India and got married to an electrical engineering professor (Mallur Nandagopal, Ph.D.) and at the same time I received her immigrant visa. Together they returned to Seattle. In 1977 they moved to Spokane. Her husband has done some innovative things for the city of Spokane, one of them being rebuilding the Upriver Dam Hydroelectric project which produces annually
over $3 million in revenue to the city. Sreedharani taught for the Community Colleges of Spokane for 27 years and other colleges in this area including NIC. Together they do volunteer work for the schools and community at large by giving presentations about Indian culture, Hinduism, etc. They also try to educate the Spokane and the vicinity citizenry by bringing classical concerts and dance-dramas from India with the help of Rotary, Spokane Arts, Spokane city, Innovia Foundation, and many other organizations, and individual donors.