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The Beautiful Land of Flowers Called Tahiti

By Andrew Burgon /
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April 1, 2014

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Image Credit:  Sanvieira12 / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Image Credit: Sanvieira12 / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Flowers Play an Integral Part in the History, Lore and Legends of Tahiti as Well as Every Day Life

Tahiti! Visually breathtaking islands. People who exhibit warmth to friends and strangers alike. The alluring South Pacific Sea. As if that somehow wasn’t enough flowers has been added to the irresistible equation. They’re a part of the Tahitian aesthetic which prizes color, sensuality and feminine grace. Here, flowers burst into song. A land that boasts a profusion of frangipani, sweet gardenia and bougainvillea everywhere.

Daily Flower Care in Tahiti

From the moment you step foot in Tahiti the islands’ flowers await and welcome you. A Tahitian maiden approaches you draping a colorful lei of tropical flowers around your neck. A fragrant tiara blossom is also gifted to you.

The lei signifies welcome though they can be used to express love, affection, friendship or appreciation between two people. They are never to be thrown into the rubbish bin. Rather, the custom is to cut the string and let the flowers fall to the ground or into the sea.

From morning to night you will find flowers present. On your breakfast tray in the morning, around the spa tub and at night find hibiscus and ginger artfully strewn on your bed.

The Language of Flowers in Tahiti

Flowers play a prized role in hair decoration. The Cape Jasmine and the Tiare Tahiti the obvious favorites. Where they are put signifies something.

Image Credit: Troy Mckaskle from SF Bay Area / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Image Credit: Tiare by Troy Mckaskle from SF Bay Area / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Image Credit: Biswarup Ganguly / GFDL

Image Credit: Cape Jasmine by Biswarup Ganguly / GFDL

Both men and women can be seen wearing a Tiare tucked behind their ears. Men place it behind the ear before it opens. Women after it opens. It’s a way of communicating the status of their love lives.

A tiare blossom (Tahitian Gardenia) worn behind the left ear indicates that the wearer is taken and unavailable for romantic pursuit. Worn behind the right ear, it means the wearer is single and available. If a blossom is behind both ears it means the women is married but available. Wearing a flower backwards means you are available immediately.

Image Credit: Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA / CC-BY-2.0

Image Credit: Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA / CC-BY-2.0

Flowers in Traditional Polynesian Dancing

For the visitor, there is something exotic, sensual and intoxicating about Tahitian dances. Pulsating drums, hypnotic voices and a dance imbued with a distinctive sense of Polynesia transports you to a different realm and time in their history. Ancient stories are retold of warriors, sailing, fishing and hunting.

It’s an energetic, vivacious and sensual dance. Swaying grass skirts and rigorous hip movements. Adorning belts usually covered with feathers, ferns, shells and leaves. Exposed abdomens. Bra’s made of sea shells or coconut shells. The crowning glory is the adornment of the head with a floral arrangement of blossoms such as tiare, hibiscus and frangipani.

Wedding Flowers

Every year couples flock to Polynesia’s lustrous jewel called Bora Bora island for a special wedding ceremony, vow renewal or wedding anniversary. There are a number of different styles of wedding ceremonies they can choose from.

Floral crowns for the couple are made of blossoms such as tiare, hibiscus and frangipani. The bride may be loaned a stunning pearl necklace while the groom sports a temporary polynesian tattoo.

Getting to the site may entail a ride on a double outrigger canoe accompanied by three other single canoes decorated for the occasion. Alternatively, the couple may be taken to the site of the ceremony on two chairs supported by four warriors and decorated with tropical flowers.

The wedding ceremony takes place at a temple overlooking a beautiful beach. The service conducted by the high priest of the village. Ukulele and traditional songs filling the air.

The day might end with a romantic dinner on the beach, dining while watching an extraordinary polynesian show or enjoying a massage with essential oils on a floating bungalow.

The flowers of Tahiti are no doubt part of the reason why Tahiti has had such a mesmerizing and hypnotic like hold on the minds of people all over the world.

Have you anything to add to ‘The Beautiful Land of Flowers Called Tahiti?’
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