Did you know that countries throughout the world have their own official and national state flower? Well, Tunisia is no different.
In this article, we’re shedding the light on the flower that truly represents Tunisia. Come and join us on this very fragrant and fun trip through the beautiful flower that represents the national spirit of Tunisia.
Jasmine is the national flower of Tunisia, and the Tunisian people love it because it symbolizes “Simplicity, serenity, purity, and happiness.”! Arabian Jasmine flowers have many uses including making a “wonderful tea that many people love to drink and in some regions, it used to create leis.” Arabian Jasmine also has wonderful practical purposes including that it used in making medicines which can then be used as aids in treating “liver disease as well as abdominal pain caused by dysentery.”
Many people enjoy Jasmine in their foods including candies, ice creams, other items, and in creams that are used for certain beauty products. Arabian Jasmine also has a lot of symbolism including that some think it “brings good luck, denotes purity, is for love, beauty, and romance, and others even think it holds a meaning of motherhood.” Finally, they are just a stunning flower to look at and one can get easily caught in its mesmerizing and relaxing smell.
The Tunisian people’s favorite national flower is jasmine. They are amazingly attached to their national flower, and as a result of their devotion, Jasmines are planted throughout the country.
The Famous Tunisian Mashmoum is made of Jasmine
For those of you who have not had the able to discover the jasmine flower, more specifically Tunisian Jasmine, allow us to introduce you to this marvel.
Close your eyes and try to imagine an exquisite small flower with delicate white petals and a delicate fragrance that enchants you even as you walk past its tree.
Now imagine yourself walking down the streets of Sidi Bou Said on a warm summer night, surrounded by the laughter of your friends, while the summer breeze caresses your face and the delicate scent of jasmine wafts from the Machmoum in your hand.
Still wondering what a Mashmoum is? It’s simply a small flower bouquet or necklace made of jasmine or fell, unique to Tunisia, is the scent that Tunisians believe, “Feeds The Feelings!”. It is handcrafted by Tunisian artisans, who collect every day still closed fresh flowers, fix each one of them skillfully on a stalk of Halfa grass, then surround a bunch of them together with a red cotton thread to form the bouquet.
The Machmoum is sold or offered everywhere during the summer in the afternoon or in the evening, to the great pleasure of all. Men wear it on their ear, the women in their cleavage or carry it by hand.
- For centuries, Jasmine in the East, was considered as the symbol of love and temptation of women.
- According to legend, Queen Cleopatra went to meet the Roman general Marcus Antonius in a ship whose sails were coated with essence of Jasmine!
- Jasmine was introduced to Hammamet, Tunisia, in the 7th century by Arab conquerors and is now an emblem of the town, said to symbolize hospitality and joie de vivre!
- According to the Regional Commission for Agricultural Development (CRDA), Hammamet has more than 200,000 Jasmine plants for some 150,000 inhabitants, the highest in the world!
- Even though its lifespan is very short, just 24 hours, exports of the flower still continue to flourish, transported regularly on flights to from Tunisia to Paris!
- To get one kilogram of Jasmine absolute essence, about seven million flowers need to be collected, therefore, Jasmine is often reserved for luxury perfumes.
- The perfume “Joy,” popular for 30 years, was made from Jasmine mixed with white rose petals!
- It is impossible to be in Tunisia in the summer without spotting the Jasmine arrangers, found abundantly in different towns and villages! Whole families, men, women and children alike are kept busy throughout the entire summer picking the flowers to assemble and meticulously, produce Machmoums (bouquets) and necklaces, each more beautiful than the other!
- Sold on the beaches, in cafes, or even at road junctions, and produced specifically for the Tunisian bride and groom on their wedding day, many of the vendors are often young boys anxious for extra pocket money and usually dressed traditionally with a bouquet of Jasmine pinned between the top of the ear and head. They carry and exhibit their wares in a wicker basket placed on their head or carried under their arm.
- To celebrate this flower, the city of Radés, near to Tunis, devoted a festival for 15 years.
- In 2007, Ferjeni Alaghrbi prepared a giant bouquet, which was recorded in the Guiness Book of Records! It took a whole day to prepare for a giant “Machmoum” and the cost of production was estimated to be about 200 dinars! The giant Machmoum consisted of 500 small Machmoums needing 6 kg of Jasmine or the equivalent of 23,040 flowers!
We hope that our readers got to enjoy thinking about some of the wonderful smell that these Royal Jasmine flowers have as well as the cultural significance that are present in Tunisia, picking them as the national flower. You also probably know now, why the Tunisian Revolution is called the Jasmine Revolution.
Finally, we hope this article brought all our readers some fun, joy, beauty, and happiness as flowers typically do in our lives!