I think scent has a lot to do with any holiday. Sometimes, we associate particular scents with a holiday and when we get a whiff of that scent, it all of a sudden gives us an extra boost of “holiday spirit.”
So to make the month of Ramadan feel more festive in your home, create a “scent station.” After all, the Muslim world was known for its perfume. You probably remember that famous Shakespearean line from high school, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”Your scent station doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a pick a spot in your home (entryway, kitchen, family room, wherever) and create a cute vignette for your scents.
I’ve noticed some people like to put on ittar before heading out for taraweeh. I never really used to be a big fan of ittar. That changed quite quickly as I read more about the process of perfume production in the medieval Islamic world. I was taking a class on the History of Landscape Design and since ittar is made from botanical sources, we talked quite a bit about perfuming. My professor (who was French) also told a rather entertaining tale of how the French visited Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir and were so pleased that they decided to produce a perfume by the same name, evoking the scent of the gardens. You can actually still buy this perfume at The Bay and other places like that. It’s called, Shalimar by Guerlain.
Oh and here’s a fun fact! Did you know it used to require 1 200 000 flowers to produce just 1 kg of rose oil for perfume? Rose oil perfume was so expensive because of the labour involved to produce it that usually only kings could afford to buy it.
But of course the strong scent of ittar and incense isn’t for everyone. If you’re not a fan of such fragrances, then…
Summer time has such a wonderful array of scented candles in stores, giving you so many options to choose from!
Set your own traditions by mixing up ittars, perfumes, incense and scented candles into one gorgeous vignette fit for the holy days.