Spring is now in the air, and so is National Fragrance Day. This day is observed each year on March 21st.
Have you ever been transported back in time simply by catching the scent of loved one’s perfume? Or perhaps it was the smell of baby powder on a newborn that sent you reeling back to the days when your child was an infant. Maybe it was a combination of ginger and molasses, and suddenly you were in your grandmother’s kitchen.
Whatever the fragrance, scents and memory are powerfully linked. We associate summer with the smell of freshly cut grass, thunderstorms with the smell of the damp air and the acrid scent of sulfur when lightning has struck. We often connect memories of winter holidays with warm spiced pies and cookies.
The brain is an amazing thing, and science finds out more about it every day. Simply put, the olfactory bulb which is responsible for processing all those smells we take in is next to the hippocampus deep inside the brain. Neuroscientists have discovered that one of the responsibilities of the hippocampus is creating new memories. With the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus immediately adjacent, research suggests smell and memory are closely related.
Our memories are most nearly linked to those we have loved. Your first love may have worn a unique botanical fragrance, or perhaps the uncle who taught you to tie intricate knots smelled of cedar as he told war stories. While we may often take a trip down memory lane by looking at a scrapbook, perhaps this time remembering our favorite fragrances will stir up memories that were long forgotten or maybe we will make some new ones.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Find some new ways to enjoy your sense of smell. Use #NationalFragranceDay to post on social media.
Educators, visit the Classroom for a National Fragrance Day lesson designed for you!
Within our research, we were unable to identify the founder of National Fragrance Day.
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