From Kitchen to Culture: Understanding Oregano’s Deeper Meanings

Oregano (Origanum ‘vulgare’) is an herbaceous perennial flowering plant from the mint family. This popular culinary herb is utilized extensively in Italian, Greek, Mexican, and Spanish cuisine and is a close cousin of marjoram. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Oregano’s meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers.

Ultimate Guide to Oregano Meaning, Symbolism, Types, and Uses

Oregano Flower Symbolism – Key Takeaways

Oregano is traditionally associated with the meaning of love and romance but can also symbolize joy. This herb and its flowers have been used in rituals and ceremonies to promote good health, bring good luck, intensify love, and bring joy and happiness into the home.

Etymological Meaning

Oregano’s name comes from the combination of the Greek words “oros” meaning mountain, and “ganos” meaning brightness or joy, giving it the common name of joy of the mountain.

The Meaning & Symbolism of Oregano

Oregano has long symbolized good fortune, health, and happiness. During Tudor and Elizabethan times, people commonly used it as such a symbol.

Oregano flowers typically bloom in shades of purple and pink, which in the language of flowers are synonymous with dignity, success, admiration, and wisdom (for purple flowering plants) and happiness, gentleness, affection, sensitivity, friendship, trust, innocence, playfulness, grace, and femininity (for pink flowering plants).  

The Cultural Significance of Oregano Plants

A statue of a female form in black and white from Ancient Greece

Oregano has a deep and storied heritage in Greece, with many references in mythological tales. 

One legend notes Aphrodite (the Goddess of love, among other things) created this fragrant herb in her very own garden patch on Mount Olympus as a symbol of joy. 

What’s more, in Ancient Greece, it was commonplace to plant oregano around entranceways and surrounding the home to ward off evil spirits. 

People also used oregano as the go-to cure for poison and employed it in poultices to draw out infections under the skin.

When oregano sprung up on a gravesite, people viewed it as a sign that the deceased had found happiness in the hereafter. Crowns of oregano worn at weddings ensured the newly married would enjoy a life of joy and happiness.

Suitable Gifting Occasions

A potted oregano plant

Oregano makes a suitable housewarming or hostess gift as the recipient can plant it near the home and reap its many benefits.

Adding cut flowers to floral bouquets to add color, fragrance, and texture is not a common practice, although it can be done.

Wrap-up

Oregano is far more than a mere culinary delight; it is a plant steeped in history and rich with symbolism. From its associations with joy and happiness in ancient times to its use in protective rituals, oregano carries with it layers of cultural significance.


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