The pomegranate is typically a red fruit with dozens of juice-filled seeds in its inside. It has been cultivated since ancient times in regions of the Mediterranean. The pomegranate figures in multiple myths and artworks. In Ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate was known as the "fruit of the dead", and believed to have sprung from the blood of Adonis.
The myth of Persephone, the goddess of the underworld, prominently features her consumption of pomegranate seeds, requiring her to spend a certain number of days in the underworld every year. The number of seeds and therefore months varies. During the months, while Persephone sat on the throne of the underworld beside her husband Hades, her mother Demeter mourned and no longer gave fertility to the earth. This was an ancient Greek explanation for the seasons.
In modern times, the pomegranate still holds strong symbolic meanings for the Greeks. When one buys a new home, it is conventional for a house guest to bring a pomegranate as a first gift, which is placed under/near the ikonostasi (home altar) of the house, as a symbol of abundance, fertility, and good luck. When Greeks commemorate their dead, they make kollyva as offerings, which consist of boiled wheat, mixed with sugar and decorated with pomegranate.
- Where did the pomegranate originate?
- In the myth of Persephone, the seeds of the pomegranate represented .
- While Persephone was with Hades she .
- What do pomegranates NOT symbolize for modern Greeks?
- Why was the pomegranate known as the "fruit of the dead"?