Are ya'll enjoying this summer yet?! I sure hope so! It's the perfect time of year to be outside with friends and family, or just be out in the sun a bit while it's nice and hot. SHHH (I'm about to share with everyone my plan for keeping the heat of the day off our backs at the hottest point in our year).
I'm bringing back the parasol! (Have I told you already?)
Particularly, I'm excited about an Indian style parasol I picked up at a local antique shop while I was visiting my Mum up in Iowa. The design is bright and the fabric is so dense it's sure to keep those powerful rays we love off our backs. There are a ton of parasols like this out there, some are relatively inexpensive like the one I found but umbrella styles range so much you'd be sure to find one you'll love too.
So if you see me in Birmingham holding an ornate umbrella and there's not a cloud in sight it's because it's for practical fashion fun! However, there's a ton of history to the parasol. In India the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata (about 4th century BC) relates the following legend: "Jamadagni was a skilled bow shooter, and his devoted wife Renuka would always recover each of his arrows immediately. One time however, it took her a whole day to fetch the arrow, and she later blamed the heat of the sun for the delay. The angry Jamadagni shot an arrow at the sun. The sun begged for mercy and offered Renuka an umbrella." (Source: Wiki's Umbrella)
That's really the perfect story to wrap this one up with, since in modern day India parasols like the one pictured are often used for wedding ceremonies. But if you want to read more on the parasol I found a pretty neat looking book full of interesting historical information you can view online: The Umbrella Unfurled: Its Remarkable Life and Times, By Nigel Rodgers. The parasol was used in so many contexts! Across the globe historically it weaves in and out of religious meanings, to symbols of stature, to simple elegance and even romantic lingerings. I hope you enjoy this little bit of history, now go have some fun outside!