Pomegranate Lore and LegendThe pomegranate is a focal symbol in the legend and lore of many different cultures. Some hold that it was the pomegranate which was the fruit of temptation (remember the Punic apple?) leading to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden in the Bible.
With its abundance of seeds, the fruit has long been a symbol of fertility, bounty, and eternal life, particularly to those of the Jewish faith. Many paintings of the Madonna Virgin and Child prominently display a pomegranate. Ancient Egyptians were buried with pomegranates in hope of rebirth.
The Hittite god of agriculture is said to have blessed followers with grapes, wheat, and pomegranates. The seeds were sugared and served to guests at Chinese weddings. When it was time to consumate the marriage, pomegranates were thrown on the floor of the bedchamber to encourage a happy and fruitful union.
Berber women used pomegranates to predict the amount of their offspring by drawing a circle on the ground and dropping a ripe pomegranate in the center. The amount of seeds expelled outside the ring allegedly prophesied the number of her future children.
Mohammed believed pomegranates purged the spirits of envy and hatred from the body and urged all his followers to eat goodly amounts.
When Persephone was held captive in Hades, the Greek goddess of spring and fruit swore she would not partake of food until her release. However, she could not resist the tempting pomegranate, consuming nearly the entire fruit before halting herself and leaving only six seeds uneaten. It is from this story that believers think our yearly cycle of six months of growth and harvest followed by six months of winter is derived.
More about Pomegranates and Pomegranate Recipes: Pomegranate Cooking Tips and Measures
Pomegranate Selection and Storage
Pomegranate Peeling and Juicing
Are pomegranate seeds edible? FAQ
Pomegranate Legend and Lore
Pomegranate Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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