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Marjoram probably originated in Greece. Today, Egypt is the major exporter and it is cultivated worldwide. The name marjoram (Old French majorane, Medieval Latin majorana) does not directly derive from the Latin word maior (major). Marjoram is indigenous to Cyprus and southern Turkey, and was known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness.

Ancient Greeks planted marjoram on the graves of their beloved in the belief that by doing so, the deceased would enjoy eternal peace and happiness. Hippocrates ascribed several medical uses to marjoram. Marjoram was one of the herbs and spices used by the ancient Egyptians in the embalming process. Ancient Greeks and Romans made head wreaths of marjoram for wedding couples as a symbol of love, honor, and happiness.