Lavender: Scent and Symbol

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The health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect the scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems. The Latin name of lavender is Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its aroma which has a particularly clean aroma.  Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of the lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourri for centuries. Traditionally, lavender essential oil has also been used in making perfumes. The oil is very useful in aromatherapy and many aromatic preparations and combinations are made using lavender oil.  Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg. Today, lavender essential oil is frequently used in various forms including aromatherapy oil, gels, infusion, lotion, and soaps.



The color, the texture, and the scent of a lavender field encapsulate for many the essence of Provence, France. The above video illustrates how you can enjoy the lavender fields in Provance, around the Luberon where you will find concentrations of lavender fields: on the high plateaux around Sault, at the foot of the Mont Ventoux, and around Apt and Gordes. Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south.



Lavender was commonly used in Roman baths to scent the water, and it was thought to restore the skin. During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month's wages for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber.  Its beautiful rich and soothing color represents the LGBT Community as part of the "Rainbow Flag" and it is used as a symbol for "Gay Pride" all around the world. 


lavender 1


Lavender most commonly symbolizes love, devotion and purity. It is a commonly used color for weddings, and, when given as a gift, lavender represents opportunity and promises new adventure. The color purple has a history of association with royalty, so lavender suggests splendor and regal majesty. For centuries, lavender was used to scent love letters and was combined with rosemary during the Renaissance to secure a woman's chastity.


lavender 2


The lavender rose symbolizes love-at-first-sight and is often sent by individuals who wish to express feelings of adoration. Lavender roses share symbolism with fabled blue roses, which have not been found to exist in nature. Since the quest for a truly blue rose is ongoing, much of its fabricated symbolism, such as wonder and a magical aura of impossibility, has become linked to the lavender rose. Long-stemmed lavender roses are used in bouquets and carry the greatest symbolic significance.


lavender 5

In aromatherapy, lavender is an essential oil known for its light aroma and a yin-yang balance pointing to femininity and an inward sense of awareness. Spiritual symbolism of lavender resides in the realms of healing, easing of tension, higher consciousness and the release of energy blockages. Lavender is popular as an accent color in Feng Shui meditation rooms.


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The Roman's late Latin name was lavandārius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lavāre (to wash). When the Roman Empire conquered southern Britain, the Romans introduced lavender. The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda. It was also commonly called nard. The Greeks discovered early on that lavender if crushed and treated correctly would release a relaxing fume when burned. Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and lavender mentioned in the Song of Solomon as nard, a spice and/or incense. Nard and saffron, 
calamus and cinnamon,
 myrrh and aloes,
 included among the finest spices with every kind of incense tree. Research has confirmed that lavender produces slight calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled. There are no known scientific reports of interactions between lavender and conventional medications but it has been considered to have a positive effect as an interactive agent when used with some type of depressants.



Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Genderqueer (LGBTQ) communities have adopted certain symbols and symbolism for which they are identified and by which they demonstrate unity, pride, shared values, and allegiance to one another. LGBTQ symbols also communicate ideas, concepts and identity both within their communities and to mainstream cultures. The two most-recognized international LGBTQ symbols are the pink triangle and the pride flag. The pink triangle, employed by the Nazis in World War II as a badge of shame was re-appropriated but retained some negative connotations. The Rainbow flag was envisioned and created to be a more organic and natural replacement without any negativity attached to it.


Males and Females symbols


Where did that rainbow flag come from, and how did it come to symbolize gay pride and rights? The story is a touching one, involving a drag queen who would come to be known as “Busty Ross,” huge trash bins full of dye, clandestine trips to the laundromat, and the famous gay politician Harvey Milk. Gilbert Baker, an artist and drag queen, first created the Rainbow Flag in 1978. In an interview Baker did with the Museum of Modern Art, which recently added the rainbow flag to its design collection, Baker says he started to seriously think about creating a flag for the movement in 1976, the year of the United States’ bicentennial. Baker says he saw a flag as a more powerful symbol than a seal or a sign, since it is flown to represent a nation, people or country. “We are a people, a tribe if you will. And flags are about proclaiming power, so it’s very appropriate,” he said.


rainbow books


"We needed something beautiful, something from us. The rainbow is so perfect because it really fits our diversity in terms of race, gender, ages, all of those things," said Baker. "Plus, it’s a natural flag—it’s from the sky! And even though the rainbow has been used in other ways in vexilography, this use has now far eclipsed any other use that it had."


Judy Garland


The rainbow had the added benefit of being a natural and universal symbol that works in any language. The rainbow flag also had some connections with Judy Garland, a favorite figure of the gay community who sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in “The Wizard of Oz.” The Advocate had called Garland "an Elvis for homosexuals."



Director Terry Rayment and Cinematographer Kate Arizmendi's film "Understanding" poignantly depicts the transformational power of love and happiness and captured all of the emotions beautifully.  In 3 Minutes, Kodak Captures the Ache of Gay Love, Dread of Coming Out and the Joy of Being Accepted.  The film shows a teen’s journey after he is discovered by his sister kissing a boy in his bedroom. And yes, it has a happy ending.







A slew of saucy Australians came out February 5 for the annual Pride March Victoria. The festive, Down Under pride event featured a number of new additions including a Pride Magazine, an election of a king and queen, and the inaugural Peel Street Pride Fair. Aussie lads and lasses marched down scenic Fitzroy Street for the 16th annual event that celebrated the courage, solidarity, and sense of community in LGBT individuals in Australia and around the world. 



This breathtakingly beautiful city in British Columbia hosts one of the world's most exciting pride events every year. This year's Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival will take place on July 31. The family-friendly parade features outrageous floats and performers, and the festival, located in gorgeous Sunset Beach park, features hundreds of vendors selling products and providing information on LGBT rights in Canada and around the world. The pride festivities center on Davie Street, the gay village of Vancouver, and there are numerous clubs and bars to go to with hot venues for all types. This year, the Queer Arts Festival will also coincide with Pride, showcasing queer art from a variety of artistic disciplines.



The Queer Azaadi Mumbai event expanded from a single day march to a weeklong celebration this year, featuring drag performances, dance, and live music. Culminating with a parade on January 29, thousands of people took part in the Indian demonstration. The increased participation is in large part due to the growing acceptance of LGBT individuals in India. With the participation of Azad Bazaar, India's first LGBT pride store, this year's successful event hosted exciting events from political panels on issues like same-sex marriage to documentary screenings and open-mic sessions. 



The host of the annual EuroPride this year is the historic Italian city of Rome. EuroPride began in London in 1992, and is a pan-European party hosted by a different city every year. The event lasts for two weeks, and culminates with a parade, live music, special parties, and an AIDS memorial vigil. This year, it will take over Rome from June 1-12. The main parade takes place on June 11. For the duration of the event, the gardens of Piazza Vittorio, one of the largest squares in Rome, will be turned into EuroPride Park, an open space to be used for cultural events.



If you'd like to try something a bit different rather than your average pride parade, head to Amsterdam this summer for the Amsterdam Gay Pride Weekend. The highlight of this Dutch celebration is the famous Canal Parade on Saturday afternoon. Instead of trucks, this demonstration uses 75 beautifully decorated boats that travel through the city's famous canals. Over half a million spectators watch the Canal Parade every year. On Friday night, the streets and avenues of this charming city are filled with outdoor celebrations. Many clubs host dance parties Saturday night, and the Rapido circuit party takes place on Sunday. This year, the Pride Weekend will be held from August 5-7.



In 1990, Johannesburg hosted the first ever gay and lesbian pride parade in Africa. Fewer than 1,000 people took part in the event, and many hid their faces with masks or paper bags out of fear. Today, Joburg Pride has become the largest gay pride on the African continent. On Saturday October 1, the colorful celebration will mark its 22nd birthday with a large parade and a day of festivities at Zoo Lake Sports Club. Outlandish floats, local artists and DJs, and a number of vendors selling goodies and providing information will take part in the event. Use the opportunity to learn more about the pressing issue of LGBT rights in South Africa and across the entire African continent.



The Korea Queer Culture Festival has been held in the capital of South Korea for over a decade now. It is a pride celebration with a strong focus on arts and culture. In addition to an opening party and street parade, the Festival also hosts a film festival and series of lectures on LGBT issues. The annual march is one of the largest LGBT demonstrations in South Korea. Even though this is still a largely conservative country, the Queer Culture Festival has been able to continue through generous support from cultural organizations like the Korean Film Council. If you're interested in Asian LGBT issues, queer culture, or Korean art, you'll definitely want to look into this weeklong event held late May early June.



The bustling capital of Spain is not only a great LGBT-friendly destination, but is also home to Madrid Gay Pride (or Orgullo LGBT), an annual festival that draws massive crowds. This year, the main festival day will be July 2, and will consist of a large Gay Pride Parade followed by an outdoor festival on the scenic Plaza de Espana. Most of the events held during Madrid Gay Pride take place in the Chueca District, the gay village of the city. Infinita Gay Week will also be throwing a number of their popular parties this year from June 30-July 3. The festival usually draws big name performers. Kylie Minogue gave a concert at last year's event.



With 30,000 attendees, the Taiwan Pride Parade broke a number of records last year. The large turnout made the celebration the largest pride parade in Asia, and many LGBT people from neighboring countries took part. This was a far cry from the mere 500 people that participated at the first pride in 2003. The theme of last year's event was "Out & Vote" and demanded better policies toward the gay community from the local government. In addition to the parade, there is a festival focusing on LGBT-themed goods from local organizations. This year, the ninth annual Taiwan Pride Parade will take place at the end of October.



The world's largest celebration for African American LGBT people takes place every year in Atlanta, and this year all the hot, summer action takes place from August 31-September 5. In The Life Atlanta provides support not only for Atlanta's LGBT community but also for black LGBT people across the country. The celebration raises awareness about issues that particularly affect minority LGBT communities and includes a candlelight vigil, gala ball, numerous parties, a marketplace, fashion show, and many workshops. 


The first pride march in Michigan was held 25 years ago in Downtown Detroit. To commemorate this milestone, Equality Michigan is moving the annual Motor City Pride to Hart Plaza in the center of Detroit, and it sounds like it's going to be busier than an assembly line! On June 4 and 5, this prominent location will host family activities, a stage and dance area, and a number of speeches and performances. The weekend also involves a family picnic, golf outing, commitment ceremony, and parade. If you've never been to Detroit, this would be a great time to check it out.


On June 26, it's all about the ladies, as the gayest city in America hosts the 18th Annual San Francisco Dyke March. Of course, guests of every gender are welcome to join in the celebration. Started in 1993, the march now attracts more than 50,000 attendees and just keeps growing. This year's rally will again showcase outstanding artists, critical thinkers, and political activists. Afterward, marchers will take to San Francisco's streets in support of lesbian visibility. So come show some love for the ladies, make some new friends, and party for equality.





color our world with pride


January 2017
Washington D.C13 - 15 Jan Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend
Aspen15 - 22 Jan Gay and Lesbian Ski Week
Melbourne15 Jan - 5 Feb Midsumma
Arosa21 - 28 Jan Arosa Ski Week
Vancouver21 - 29 Jan Gay Whistler Ski Week
Fort Lauderdale22 - 29 Jan * Atlantis Caribbean all gay cruise
Vienna28 Jan RegenbogenBall
Melbourne29 Jan * Pride march Victoria
Puerto Vallarta29 Jan - 5 Feb Beef Dip Bear Week


February 2017
Playa del Carmen1 - 6 Feb Arena dance music festival
Fort Lauderdale5 - 12 Feb RSVP Caribbean Cruise
Auckland12 Feb The Big Gay Out
Antwerp15 - 20 Feb Belgium Leatherpride
Sydney18 Feb - 5 Mar Mardi Gras
Sitges21 Feb - 1 Mar Sitges Carnival
Salvador23 Feb - 1 Mar Carnaval
Cologne23 Feb - 1 Mar Karneval
New Orleans24 - 28 Feb Gay Mardi Gras
Rio de Janeiro24 Feb - 1 Mar Carnival Rio
Rio de Janeiro25 - 26 Feb Atlantis Carnival Cruise
Fort Lauderdale26 Feb Pride Fort Lauderdale


March 2017
Miami1 - 6 Mar Winter Party Miami
Gran Canaria3 - 12 Mar * Carnival
Mammoth Lakes15 - 19 Mar Elevation Mammoth gay ski week
Munich15 - 19 Mar Stark-bier-fest meeting
Alpe de Huez18 - 25 Mar European Gay Ski Week
Tignes18 - 25 Mar European Snow Pride
Sölden25 Mar - 1 Apr Gay Snow Happening
Vancouver31 Mar - 3 Apr Rubbout


April 2017
Phoenix1 - 2 Apr Phoenix gay pride
Miami7 - 9 Apr Miami Beach gay pride
Amsterdam8 Apr Eurovision in Concert
Bangkok13 - 15 Apr Songkran Thai New Year
Barcelona13 - 16 Apr Matinee Easter Weekend
New Orleans16 Apr Gay Easter Parade
Washington D.C20 - 23 Apr Cherry
Madrid26 Apr - 2 May Sleazy Madrid
Amsterdam27 Apr Kings Day Amsterdam
Cleveland27 - 30 Apr Claw Leather Awareness
Phuket27 - 30 Apr Gay Pride Festival
Sitges27 Apr - 1 May International Bears Week
Dallas28 Apr - 1 May Purple Party


May 2017
Amsterdam2 - 7 May Amsterdam Bear Weekend
Palm Springs4 - 7 May Blatino Oasis
Gran Canaria4 - 14 May Gay Pride Maspalomas
Palm Springs5 - 8 May White Party Palm Springs
Gran Canaria10 - 14 May Circuit Festival Gran Canaria
Sitges16 - 21 May Delice Dream
Los Angeles20 - 21 May Long Beach Pride
Puerto Vallarta21 - 28 May Puerto Vallarte Pride
Paris24 - 28 May FierteOurs Bear Pride
Chicago25 - 29 May International Mr Leather
Miami25 - 29 May Sizzle
Düsseldorf26 - 28 May CSD Duesseldorf
Washington D.C26 - 29 May DC Black Pride
Las Vegas26 - 29 May Matinee Las Vegas Festival
Miami26 May - 4 Jun 4th World Outgames 2017
Birmingham27 - 28 May Birmingham Gay pride
Orlando30 May - 5 Jun Disney Gay Days


June 2017
Orlando2 - 4 Jun One Magical Weekend
Zürich2 - 11 Jun CSD Zürich
Aarhus3 Jun Aarhus Pride
Boston3 - 11 Jun Boston Pride
Key West7 - 11 Jun Key West PrideFest
Sitges8 - 12 Jun Gay Pride
Tel Aviv9 Jun Tel Aviv Gay Pride
Washington D.C9 - 11 Jun Capital pride
New Orleans9 - 11 Jun Gay Pride New Orleans
Vienna10 Jun Lifeball
Detroit10 - 11 Jun Motor City Pride
Shanghai15 - 18 Jun Shanghai Pride
Portland17 - 18 Jun Portland Pride
New York17 - 25 Jun NYC Gay Pride
New York18 Jun Folsom Street East
Houston18 - 25 Jun Gay Pride Houston
Dublin23 - 25 Jun Gay Pride Dublin
Oslo23 Jun - 2 Jul Oslo gay pride
Madrid23 Jun - 2 Jul World Gay Pride / Orgullo Madrid
Cleveland24 Jun Cleveland Pride
Chicago24 - 25 Jun * Chicago Pride
San Francisco24 - 25 Jun San Francisco Pride
London24 Jun - 9 Jul Gay Pride London
Seattle25 Jun Seattle Pride
Barcelona28 Jun - 9 Jul Gay Pride Barcelona
Provincetown29 Jun - 6 Jul Independence Weekend


July 2017
Barcelona4 - 14 Jul Atlantis all gay cruise Barcelona to Venice
Cologne7 - 9 Jul Cologne Gay Pride - CSD
Provincetown8 - 16 Jul Bear Week
Munich8 - 16 Jul CSD Munich
London9 - 16 Jul Fetish Week London
Frankfurt14 - 16 Jul CSD Frankfurt
Stuttgart14 - 30 Jul CSD Stuttgart
Berlin21 - 23 Jul Gay Pride Week / CSD Berlin
Tilburg24 Jul Roze Maandag
Belfast28 Jul - 6 Aug Belfast gay pride festival
Amsterdam29 - 30 Jul Milkshake Festival


August 2017
Amsterdam4 - 6 Aug * Amsterdam Gay Pride
Brighton4 - 6 Aug Brighton gay Pride
Seattle5 - 12 Aug RSVP gay Alaska cruise
Barcelona5 - 20 Aug Circuit Festival
Antwerp9 - 13 Aug Antwerp Pride
Torremolinos9 - 16 Aug Mad Bear Beach Party Weekend
Hamburg10 - 13 Aug Ledertreffen Hamburg
Chicago12 - 13 Aug Northalsted Market Days
Copenhagen15 - 20 Aug Gay Pride Copenhagen
Glasgow19 - 20 Aug Glasgow Pride
Mykonos23 - 30 Aug XLsior
Wörthersee24 - 27 Aug Pink Lake Festival
Manchester25 - 28 Aug * Manchester Gay Pride
Calgary25 Aug - 4 Sep Calgary gay pride
Black Rock Desert27 Aug - 4 Sep Burning man
New Orleans30 Aug - 4 Sep Southern Decadence
Reykjavik31 Aug - 3 Sep Bears On Ice


September 2017
Sitges1 - 11 Sep International Bears Week
Amsterdam3 - 13 Sep * Atlantis Amsterdam to Barcelona cruise
Benidorm4 - 10 Sep Benidorm Gay Pride
Berlin6 - 10 Sep Folsom Europe
Dallas16 - 17 Sep Dallas Pride Weekend
Lisbon18 - 25 Sep The Cruise by La Demence
Orlando26 Sep - 1 Oct Bear Bash
Curacao27 Sep - 1 Oct Curacao Gay Pride


October 2017
Los Angeles6 - 8 Oct Gay Days Anaheim
Gran Canaria7 - 15 Oct Maspalomas Fetish Week
Los Angeles31 Oct Gay Halloween Streetparty


November 2017
Palm Springs3 - 5 Nov Greater Palm Springs Pride
Benidorm4 - 5 Nov Mr Leather Spain
Puerto Vallarta5 - 12 Nov Club Atlantis Vallarta


December 2017
Madrid4 - 11 Dec MadBear


February 2018
Salvador8 - 14 Feb Carnaval
Rio de Janeiro9 - 14 Feb Carnival Rio


April 2018
Bangkok13 - 15 Apr Songkran Thai New Year


August 2018
Paris4 - 12 Aug Gay Games 2018


NOTE: * = date not confirmed yet


 Provence Lavender Fiels