Birth flower for October

BRIGHT and vibrant, the marigold is the October birth flower, which grows in a range of colours, from white, gold and yellow and the most popular - bright orange.

Marigolds feature throughout history - ancient Greek and Roman cultures, as well as Indian and Middle Eastern cultures all used marigolds for everything from treating various health ailments, dying fabrics, creating cosmetics and seasoning foods.

In Medieval England, the flowers and leaves of the marigold flowers, combined with ground eggshells, were added to heated ale and drunk as a treatment for the plague.

In Asia, garlands of marigold flowers are used to decorate religious statues, and during funerals and wedding ceremonies.

During Mexico’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration colourful garlands of marigold flowers adorn the graves of deceased relatives.

Elaborate altars are constructed in homes and filled with favourite photos, toys and food items of the deceased and it believed that the scent of the flowers helps guide the spirits from the cemetery to the altars.

Marigold flowers can be eaten and are often used in salads or as a substitute for the much more expensive saffron spice.

Another use for this flower is as a natural insect repellent - the strong scent helps keep mosquitoes away.

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