“Rodi” (ρόδι) is the Greek word for Pomegranate, a winter fruit that plays a major role in Greek Mythology and Tradition…
In ancient Greek mythology the pomegranate was described as “the fruit of the dead” that sprung from Adonis’ blood.
They say that Persephone, the goddess of the underworld, was kidnapped by Hades and taken to live with him in the dark world. Persephone’s mother, Demeter, the goddess of the Harvest, mourned so bad she made all nature stop growing and wither. Zeus of course wouldn’t allow Earth to die, so he commanded his brother Hades to return Persephone back to her mother.
Anyone that ate or drank in the underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Although Persephone didn’t eat any food, Hades tricked Persephone into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was imprisoned. As a result Persephone, was forced to spend 6 months a year in the underworld. During these six months every year, her mother Demeter mourns and stops all fertility on the Earth…
This is how ancient Greek mythology explains the seasons.
Today in Greece, the pomegranate is still symbolic on feast days such as the Presentation of the Virgin Mary and on Christmas Day, when traditionally there is a pomegranate at the dinner table, known by the ancient name “panspermia”. It is also an ingredient in “koliva” the offering made in memory of the dead. Lastly, pomegranate is always considered good luck to smash at weddings and also at New Years.
More Greek traditions about the pomegranate to come!
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Ioanna Aggelidaki is the Social Media Manager and Contributor of the Greek Weddings and Traditions Blog.
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