Death by Pomegranate

19 Jun

Branching out from writing of roses, of the myths and memories and makeup surrounding them, we turn to the Greek vegetation goddess, Persephone, also known as Kore.

The daughter of harvest-goddess Demeter and Zeus, Persephone represents the changing of the seasons.  One day she was out gathering flowers with Athena, goddess of wisdom, and Artemis, goddess of wild animals, when she was abducted by the god of the underworld, Hades.  There, she was tricked into eating the seeds of the pomegranate.  Because she ate four juicy seeds, she was relegated to spending four months of the year in the underworld.  Therefore, she is like vegetation itself, disappearing after the harvest.

In ancient Greek culture, the pomegranate was thought of as the “fruit of the dead.”  In fact, according to Greek Orthodox tradition it was not an apple that Eve ate in the Garden of Eden but rather a pomegranate!  Today, Greek Orthodox believers use pomegranate as an ingredient in koliva, the ritual food prepared for the memorial Divine Liturgy after a death.

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2 Responses to “Death by Pomegranate”

  1. Caris Adel June 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Huh…that is interesting. I like the idea of Divine Ritual, but also infusing the fruit with meaning like that. The story of Persephone was always my favorite myth. I think it’s because the pomegranate seemed so foreign and mysterious. It’s one if our favorite fruits now!!

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos June 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      I love the myth! …I hate trying to peel a pomegranate, though. So much work for those tiny little morsels!

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