Thyme: A Sympathy Gift of Condolence & Remembrance
During times of loss, thyme is an appropriate gift of condolence and remembrance. Thyme conveys the message of courage and strength for the bereaved, which is necessary to assist them with the grieving and coping process. Thyme is also utilized to give that same courage and strength to the soul of the deceased during its passage into the next world.
Origins of the Symbolic Message
Many people first associate thyme as a fragrant cooking herb used to season a dish, however throughout history and even in the modern day thyme has also been a symbol of courage and strength. The spiritual element of this herb has been displayed in numerous ceremonial services throughout mankind.
The Greek word “Thymus,” the genus name for the herb, means for the soul or spirit. Thus, thyme had long been identified and used in burial practices throughout ancient Greece. The Greeks placed thyme on coffins and planted at grave sites. Thyme was also burnt as an incense in their temples, believing it to be a source of courage.
Around the same time period as, and even prior to, ancient Greece, in ancient Egypt thyme was used as an embalming oil and also burned as offerings to celebrate rights of passing. Further others in ancient Egypt believed that the spirits of the passed inhabited thyme blossoms.
Thyme was later slept on by Roman soldiers, that were away from home and on long war campaigns, to give them courage and strength to carry-on. This practice of sleeping on thyme continued into the middle ages, as noticed by Europeans placing the herb under their pillows to give them courage and strength to avert nightmares.
Even in more modern time Great Britain, ceremoniously thyme has been laid on coffins, planted in cemeteries, thrown by loved ones into open graves during burial, and placed in & around mourners homes before and after funerals.
Additional Ways to Express Condolences
The tribute of planting a tree in the Holy Land is a beautiful and eco-friendly manner of perpetuating and memorializing a loved one’s soul for future generations and is an appropriate way to express condolences. This tradition is a timeless and well respected custom that is sincere and genuine.