Buddhism, Laos, My Garden

Offering Flowers

I had to thin out my Water Hyacinth this past Sunday, they were taking over my pond and I’m glad that I did, otherwise I would have missed this Lotus flower in bloom (closeup image).  Then I also saw a flower that my sister Sue gave me, I didn’t know what it was at first, and it has a very strong fragrant, very much like a Jasmine but a lot stronger, my sister told me it’s a Tuberose, and some people said that it smells very much like the Queen of the Night. The plant was given to her by Mae tou Sorn and she said that you can use the flower to Wai Pra (offering to Buddha). I’m glad that she gave me part of her plants and now I have a Tuberose in my garden, closeup image.

The tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a perennial plant of the agave family Agavaceae, and the oil extracted from the flower is used as a perfume. Its a prominent plant in Indian culture and mythology. The flowers are used in wedding ceremonies, garlands, decoration and various traditional rituals, and I believed one being the offering flower for Buddhism.

I recalled when I was little living in Laos and Thailand that lotus flower is used for worshiping.  And during my visit back home, I’m not surprised to see the Lotus flowers in front of the Wat (temple), after all it’s the sacred flower of India where the birth of Buddhism.

Below on the left hand side is Dork Huk, I’m not sure what it’s called in English but the Lao name is loosely translated as the flower of love.

Kind of surprised me that the most popular flower for worshiping in Laos is the Marigold.

And at Boun That Luang, Marigold seemed to be the flower of choice also.

My dad and I are still very traditional when it comes to flower, we preferred the Lotus flower and that’s what we used for offering.

I’m beginning to see Lee’s Marigold flowers in a different light now.

17 thoughts on “Offering Flowers”

  1. That is the most marigold I’ve ever seen in one place. They are so bright and pretty.

    My mom loves marigold and tuberose too. I remember her growing these every year. And she would bring most of her flowers as offering to the temple too. Mostly this time of year. 🙂

    1. Lila, as for me, it was the biggest Boun event I’ve ever attended, the most Lao people, the most incense sticks being lit and the smoke was everywhere, and the most marigold flowers I’ve ever seen. If I ever go back to visit, it’d be during Boun That Luang for sure.

    1. lady0fdarkness, I think marigold was in season also when I was there, but I’m sure they can grow them all year round in Laos. The Jasmines are more commonly used for Songkran to Sonk Nom Pra I think, but I’ve not heard or seen much of Water Hyacinth for this occasion.

  2. Wow, lots of beautiful flowers!

    I saw the “Dork Huk” in the garden of a friend of my mom. It grows tall with off green leaves and the flower is just amazing.

    I like it when it hasn’t bloom yet. Kind of reminded me of a small balloon flower. I am not sure what they call it in English as they’ve probably never seen this flower outside of Asia.

    1. Cambree, when I was little in Thailand, we’d use this flower for wai khru ceremony, which is a Thai (also Lao) ritual in which students pay respects to their teachers in order to express their gratitude, and the flowers hold up well in the hot tropical climate. This is a picture of Dork Huk tree that I took in Laos, this picture shows more.

      I also want to show you a photo of Lao pennywort that I took in Pakse (or Paksong) water fall.

  3. Hi Nye,
    It’s a nice gesture to teach school children to respect their teachers. And the flowers (Dok Huk) look so easy to grow – so no excuses!

    Thanks for the pic links. The Lao Pennywort does look like what Sue gave you. My dad used to plant that type too. But it doesn’t taste as good as the one we have now. We have the “Asiatic Centella”.

    I guess there are many varieties of this plant. Just difference in taste and appearance but hopefully all have the same health benefits!

    1. Cambree, when I was growing up, teacher was one of the most respectable professions but I can’t say it’s like that now, many parents encourage their children not to go into that profession because of the pay. As for me, I think they should have the freedom to choose.

  4. I love orchid flowers but I could never find any of those particular purple color anywhere! I had also always wanted to go to one of thos offerings, but i dont know where I can go or when, it would be great for photography and journalism!!

    1. mozemoua, if you ever plan to visit Laos, plan to go during Boun That Luang in November, it’s a national religious holiday in Laos and many photographers go there just to take photos. Or you can tag along with Boon Vong (perhaps he wouldn’t mind), he visits many religious festival.

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