Perfumes were mixed by persons skilled in the article In the
Today incense is used in connection with all religious services of the oriental Christian churches. Although there is no direct mention of the uses of incense in the
The delight of the people of Syria in pleasant odors is recorded in their literature. The attar of roses (from Arabic `iTr, "a sweet odor") was a wellknown product of Damascus. The guest in a modern Syrian home is not literally anointed with oil, but he is often given, soon after he enters, a bunch of aromatic herbs or a sweet-smelling flower to hold and smell. During a considerable portion of the year the country air is laden with the odor of aromatic herbs, such as mint and sage. The Arabic phrase for taking a walk is shemm el-hawa’, literally, "smell the air."
James A. Patch