Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Basil l'Herbe Royale

Cultural aspects

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil

There are many rituals and beliefs associated with basil. The French sometimes call basil "l'herbe royale" ("royal herb"),[27] while in Welsh it has the synonymous name "brenhinllys".[28][29] Jewish folklore suggests it adds strength while fasting.[30] In Portugal, dwarf bush basil is traditionally presented in a pot, together with a poem and a paper carnation, to a sweetheart, on the religious holidays of Saint John and Saint Anthony. However, basil represented hatred in ancient Greece, and European lore sometimes claims that basil is a symbol of Satan.[31] African legend claims that basil protects against scorpions, while the English botanist Culpeper cites one "Hilarius, a French physician" as affirming it as common knowledge that smelling basil too much would breed scorpions in the brain.

Holy basil, also called tulsi, is highly revered in Hinduism.

Basil has religious significance in the Greek Orthodox Church, where it is used to sprinkle holy water.[32] The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Macedonian Orthodox Church and Romanian Orthodox Church use basil (Bulgarian and Macedonian: босилек; Romanian: busuioc, Serbian: босиљак) to prepare holy water and pots of basil are often placed below church altars.[33]

In Europe, basil is placed in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey.[34] In India, they place it in the mouth of the dying to ensure they reach God.[35] The ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks believed it would open the gates of heaven for a person passing on.[36]

In Boccaccio's Decameron a memorably morbid tale (novella V) tells of Lisabetta, whose brothers slay her lover. He appears to her in a dream and shows her where he is buried. She secretly disinters the head, and sets it in a pot of basil, which she waters with her daily tears. Shortly after the pot is taken from her by her brothers, she dies of grief. Boccaccio's tale is the source of John Keats' poem Isabella or The Pot of Basil – which in turn inspired the paintings Isabella (Millais painting) and Isabella and the Pot of Basil. A similar story is told of the Longobard queen, Rosalind.

In certain central regions of Mexico, basil is used to draw fortune by hanging a bunch of the plant in the door or window of the shop. The plant's growth reflects the wealth of the business, showing how dutifully the owner cares for his shop and the herb.

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