Honey and its religious significance

Honey and its religious significance

Humankind has been using honey for ages. Honey is embraced by everyone, by all cultures and ethnicities; it has been in use as a natural sweetener in preparation of food, and medicine. This vital liquid has been in use for medicinal purpose throughout history due to its bioactive compounds in it.

In Christianity, bees and honey became a significant part of the Bible and the other proverbs. There is a reference in the Book of Judges where Samson found a swarm of bees and honey in the skeleton of a lion. When there was no food, honey served the purpose of all nutrients; it is in the Bible that John the Baptist survived eating honey for a long period of time when he was traveling in the wild desert. Other than this, the Book of Exodus describes the Promised land as a “Land flowing with milk and honey”. King Solomon quoted: “Eat honey, my son, because it is good” in the holy book Bible.

In Hinduism, priests use honey in performing many rituals in the temples. One of the famous rituals is Madhu Abhisheka in which honey is poured over the deities in the temple.  In the ancient books such as Rigveda, use of honey is recommended: “This herb, born of honey, dipped in honey, sweetened by honey, is the remedy for all injuries”.  “Let every wind that blows drop honey; let the rivers and streams recreate honey; let all our medicines turn into honey; let the dawn and the evening be full of honey; our nourisher, this sky above, be full of honey; let our trees be honey; let the sun be honey, let our cows secrete honey.”

In the Islamic religion, the Quran has an entire surah where it is clearly mentioned that Allah and his prophet recommended honey for medicinal and healing purposes. The book also promotes honey as a nutritious and healthy food.

In ancient Greek religion, Zeus and gods of Olympus ate honey as a food in the form of Nectar. In Buddhism, honey is used in the festival of Madhu Purnima, celebrated by giving honey to Monks. In Judaism, honey is a symbol of the new year, Rosh Hashanah. There are references in the books which clearly gives importance of honey: The Hebrew Bible, the Book of Judges, the Book of Leviticus, etc.

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