Jasmine:The Scent of Myanmar

Photo - Phyo Thiha

Everywhere in the world people derive the same message from the symbol of a flower: love.

Jasmine is a familiar sight in Myanmar and can be seen at pagodas and markets as well as at Yangon traffic light areas where some people sell jasmine to drivers for a living. Myanmar Buddhists offer jasmine to Buddha images at home and pagodas according to their religious belief.
People love it and often give the name Ma Sabei (Miss Jasmine) to a girl they love. As a custom, Myanmar woman wear jasmine in their hair and present it to the Buddha. It is also used in decorating traditional and religious functions.

In Yangon mornings, traffic light areas and markets are busy with people, including children, who are preparing to sell jasmine in the time between the dawn and rush hours.

Some work through the night.

“I sell jasmine at night and earn K7,000 to K8,000 per day. Sometimes I use tin holder as a scale and sometimes I sell it as jasmine garlands,” said one child who sells jasmine at Hledan Junction in Yangon.

The jasmine sold around Yangon is usually grown in plantations in Hmawbi Township northwest of Yangon. The tradition of hanging jasmine in cars is an offering to Buddha – the flowers are often hung on the rear view mirror near the Buddha image placed on the dashboard.

It is a wish for good business. Some Yangon taxis and highway drivers explained that jasmine and shwepan (yellow ginger lily) also smell good and makes them relaxed and clear in mind.

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Theingi Htun is a journalist who worked for two years at Yangon Times Journal and Flower News. She also worked for two years at Democracy Today News as Senior Journalist. She wrote many articles about culture, the travel sector and lifestyle stories too. Now she is working at My Magical Myanmar as a travel writer and social media executive."


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