The hanging of leaves near the entrance of the house is popularly known as toran or thoranam.

It is considered extremely auspicious as it is believed that it keeps the evil spirits and negative energy at a bay. It is also believed that tying the leaves can make the house owner's desires come true. This is why mango leaves are used or ashoka leaves.

The significance of hanging leaves is also mentioned in various Puranas and in the Bhagavad Gita - 'At each and every gate there were burning lamps and big water pots decorated with different colored cloth, strings of pearls, flower garlands and hanging mango leaves' (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.9.55)

The mango tree and its leaves are believed to be the residence of Gods like Lakshmi, Govardhan, Gandharva and the God of fertility. The significance of tying a garland of mango leaves, relates to Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan, the two sons of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, who were fond of mangoes.

It is said that God Murugan was the one who insisted people to tie green mango leaves, as it symbolizes as a fertile crop and for general well-being. Since then the mango leaves are considered to be very auspicious.

It is common practice for Indians to decorate the main door of the house, temples or areas where rituals are being performed to be decorated with leaves. What many see as just a tradition actually has scientific backing.

The garland is made with fresh green mango leaves because they are able to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This helps in keeping the surrounding atmosphere clean and fresh.

Theoretically, air is purified when it is filtered through the leaves. With freshly fallen leaves, they will still continue with photosynthesising process. In fact, because the chloroplasts are separate organelles from the rest of the leaf's cells much like mitochondria, they would be one of the last things in the leaf to stop working. As soon as the leaf dries out, photosynthesis no longer works. The darker the leaf, the longer time it has to create photosynthesis. At the same time, insects will be attracted to the leaves. So it acts as a very cheap and safe insect repellent.

The colour green is also soothing and refreshing to the mind which helps to lower anxiety. Having a garland of leaves hanging at the doorway automatically relaxes you as soon as you get home.

Dry mango leaves are used to treat cuts and wounds especially when mixed with coconut oil. Having a garland of dry mango leaves makes it handy to treat wounds quickly.

Along with the leaves, it is a common practice to apply turmeric paste on the threshold of a house. Turmeric is well known for its anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties. While the leaves freshens the air and distracts the insects, turmeric applied around the door stops bacteria and other insects from entering the house.

Source: Sanskriti Magazine
Photo Credit: Post card News