The Meaning of Incense Sticks

lit incense sticks next to buddha statue

The word incense is derived from the Latin word ‘incendere’, which means literally ‘to burn’.

In a literal sense, the meaning of incense is quite obvious. Natural burnt material which is burnt in order to release it’s fragrance. But incense is much more then that. Not only does it smell amazing, but it has the ability to connect ourselves with others in ceremony. When burnt as a religious offering, incense holds a deeper meaning then can be put into words. In ancient times it was used to hide the odors formed from a working life.

Nowadays you can buy many forms of incense. The most popular are incense sticks, but there are other varieties such as incense cones, rope incense, smudge sticks, resin incense, and dhoop. They all hold their own merits and are all very popular throughout the world for different reasons.

Definition of incense

From Merriam Webster:

1. material used to produce a fragrant odor when burned.

2. the perfume exhaled from some spices and gums when burned broadly : a pleasing scent.

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