Given their striking visual and often aromatic aspects, trees, flowers and plants have been known to take on sacred or spiritual cultural meanings. The flowering jasmine flourished initially in South Asia and regions of China, and the beauty of the flower and its sweet scent have subsequently made it a favorite in various cultures and caused people to infuse it with special meanings.

Western Meanings

Typically, the jasmine flower blooms in May, which in Roman Catholicism is considered the month of the Virgin Mary. The timing of its appearance, along with its beauty and pure white color, establish a connection between the jasmine and Mary. As a representation of God's love, the flower can be seen in many religious paintings of the Italian Renaissance era. Its beauty and sweet scent have also inspired writers to name the jasmine “the poet's flower." Brides often carry jasmine in their bouquets to symbolize love and joy.

Eastern Associations

Thought to have been first discovered in India, jasmine is valued in the East for reasons similar to those in the West: its beauty and its lovely perfume. In Indian culture -- as in Western cultures -- the flower symbolizes purity, and as such it commonly adorns the hair of young women. It may also be used in the home or in the temple to represent a desire for purity of spirit. Jasmine is also believed to have medicinal purposes by those who practice holistic medicine.