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Carnival all life, and a night with basil

A plant that has its symbolism and tradition in Argentine customs. Above all, it has prominence in a very important time of the NOA...


 The taste of basil is known all over the world since the 16th century,  because it is unique and is enhanced when cooking. But it is not only an essential ingredient  for obtaining delicious dishes , it is also  a symbol of original traditions    and contains in its sprigs DNA full of stories.  

A version that tells the story of this aromatic account that it  grew around Christ's tomb after his resurrection.   That is why many Orthodox churches use it to prepare their holy water and  under the altars  place vases filled with basil. There is also a version about Greeks and Romans, who for this plant to grow,  cursed it.   However they are all  popular legends  that do not have their proof...


Healing Basil

This plant is also used to  repel flying insects,  and that is why it is always ideal to have it in any vegetable garden. Some of its medicinal properties are proven by its loyal  consumers.  Basil is digestive, serves as a soothing and helps to heal wounds . Other disciplines such as  aromatherapy love it for its relaxing aroma.   Its floral essence is widely used to integrate sexuality with spirituality, and for its contribution against mental fatigue.


Ancestral beliefs

This plant finds its real meaning in  every community that venerates it  and uses it as  something much larger than an aromatic one.  Chocó Indians, for example, plant and use seven different varieties of this plant to take their twigs and  make baths for good luck.   In addition, due to its aroma, basil was  used by native communities as a perfume.   These communities wore twigs on their neck or wrists to smell rich.


Carnival all life, and a night with basil

 This fragrance became a symbol of carnival present and indispensable in all meetings.  With its intense aroma, the fresh ramito of basil is used as an ornament and  represents joy, protection and complicity, among thousands of positive emotions.  Mainly used  in carnival digs and burials, where  it is combined with ancestral rites  and symbolies typical of idiosyncrasy northerña.

The potency of this plant has to do with its intense aroma that  connects the spirit with the here and now.  In addition, it is digestive, and that is why it is directly related to the harvest time and the fact of digesting the thousands of traditional meals prepared for the carnival time.  Therefore,  all the parsas welcome their guests at the door with a branch of fresh basil , which is placed on one of the ears and  represents a     symbol  of acceptance of the celebration.  


Symbol of celebration

In the Andean area,  the carnival coincides with the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the crops.   Therefore, in time of carnivals  the earth is thanked, offerings and orders are made to the Pachamama.   In addition,  the ripening of fruits is appreciated   , fertility and abundance are celebrated.  And, in this sense,  basil takes prominence.  It is that, in reality, Carnival is intimately related to other festivities or meetings within the  festive agricultural calendar.  This time also comes the harvest of corn, and the elaboration of  delicious humites that are perfumed with this traditional aromatic.


What ear do I wear the bouquet on?

According to some accounts, basil leaves  placed on the left ear indicate that the person is single  and if the leaves are placed on the  right ear he is married.   In this case it would work  as a kind of  carnivalesque code, indicating what is the marital status of the person carrying the branch. Although there are also stories that mention  that knowledge belonged to grandmothers  and, in doubt, recommend using the basil branch on the right side.

And you... did you know the symbolism of basil? Which side would you wear the ramito on?


Publication Date: 13/04/2021

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The Carnival of Tilcara, the previous and the opening
carnavales Santa Fe also has carnivals



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