The echoes of ancient folklore, customs and traditions can still be vividly observed in modern culture. One can find hundreds of cures for superstitions, evil eyes warded off by spitting on one another, and palm gestures regarded as highly offensive. Among such stories is one that explains why Greeks think so highly of the red, little juicy seeds encapsulated in a round ball with a crown on top. Yes, we are talking about none-other than pomegranates. In this blog, we will look at where the story originated from.
Pomegranates in Greek Mythology
According to ancient Greek mythology, the reason pomegranates enjoy a dominant place in history is due to their association with the story about Demeter – the goddess of fertility, her daughter – Persephone, and the God of the Underworld – Hades. As told by Greek legends, Hades kidnapped Persephone and took her to the underworld to become his wife.
Upon finding out about her daughter’s kidnapping, Demeter went into complete mourning, resulting in the stilling of everything on earth. She was in a state of so much grief that the earth started to get cold. Plants and trees stopped to grow and a terrible hunger took over the earth.
Zeus and Hades
No crops grew and not a single flower blossomed. Seeing Demeter like that, her husband, Zeus, commanded Hades to release his daughter. But Hades had fallen in love with Persephone. She too had grown accustomed to him and accepted her place as the Queen of the Underworld. But because he had kidnapped her, she had sworn not to eat or drink anything from the underworld. After many attempts to get her to eat something, but failing every time, Hades decided to let her go. But love had him blind and on his way to taking her back, he tricked her into eating 6 pomegranate seeds.
As per the rules of the Fate, everyone knew that whoever ate anything in the Underworld was doomed to stay there forever. Because Persephone had consumed 6 pomegranate seeds, she was now destined to spend 6 months of each year in the underworld – one seed equaling one month. This story originated the concept of the four seasons, according to the Greeks.
Whenever Persephone was with her mother Demeter, everything on the earth blossomed and flourished (summer and spring season) and when she had to return to the underworld, everything on earth ceased to grow and became less fertile (autumn and winter).
Regarded as sacred
Ever since then, pomegranates have been regarded sacred as they symbolize rebirth and fertility. Pomegranates are considered to breed good fortunes and luck. In modern Greece, specifically the time nearing the New Years Eve, Greeks hang pomegranates on their windows and doors and smash a pomegranate on the night before new years to welcome prosperity, growth and happiness into the household.
There are many similar customs and beliefs that the Greeks passionately believe in. if this has you fascinated, plan your next vacation here to learn more about what makes them so special and heart-warming. If you are thinking about going to Greece, a great way to see it, is to charter a luxury yacht. There is no better way to get around the many Islands and truly experience the natural beauty it holds in its embrace. You could visit some of the beautiful Islands like Paxos and Anti Paxos.
Ever since time began, the ancient Greeks have told many stories about their gods. These stories are what Greek mythology, is all about. Each story when told by a different person is told in their own way. However each Gods personality and power has remained consistent from story to story teller. At Deep Blue Yachting we visit many of the sites where these stories originate from. I will be happy to answer any questions, or comments that you may have. So please feel free to leave them.