Historically, church aisles would be carpeted with mint for the Assumption – as parishioners walked across the mint, every footstep released fragrance.
What a beautiful, tangible way of calling to mind the Assumption of Mary!
A few years ago, we began folding this fragrant tradition into our home. We harvest fresh mint from our fields and then scatter it on our doormat. Every time we come and go across the threshold, our footsteps release an aromatic reminder of Our Lady.
“We must have mints, too, for they were strewn on the streets and Church aisles for the Virgin’s procession.”Florence Berger, “Cooking for Christ: Your Kitchen Prayerbook”
If you have mint available, or any other herb for that matter (thyme & rosemary are a few other herbs specifically tied to Mary!), try spreading it across your doormat or in your entryway for the Assumption. It’s a tangible way of weaving together the summer herb harvest with the spiritual beauty of this solemnity.
“If you have gathered herbs in the moonlight on a still summer night you will know why I shall never forget that night of August 14. As I stopped to pick a spike of lavender, I was enfolded in an ancient spell of legend and story. From the past a voice of some old herbalist spoke out. The Mother of God was very fond of lavender flowers ‘because of their virtue in protecting clothes from dirty, filthy beasts.’ She also loved this herb ‘for the reason that it preserves chastity.’ And periwinkle or joy-of-the-ground should be blessed on Our Lady’s Day, for ‘whoever carries this herb with him on the skin – the devil has no power over him.’ Take clary, too, for these flowers are the ‘eyes of Christ.’ Kathy’s little feet were crushing the creeping thyme in the path and the pungent odor reminded us to pick a whole family of thymes. We must have mints, too, for they were strewn on the streets and Church aisles for the Virgin’s procession. The cooking herbs were not forgotten. If I am to be Christ’s cook, I must use God’s herbs ‘for the service of men.’ ‘In pottage without herbs there is neither goodness nor nourishment.’
“Soon our aprons were full of a pot-pourri of fragrant sprays, and Kathy and I joined the others. We had gathered the best of our harvest. We made a diadem of our first fruits for the coronation fo our Queen, for the day of the Assumption, the crown of all feasts in honor of Our Lady.”Florence Berger, “Cooking for Christ: Your Kitchen Prayerbook”