The leathery skin opens up to reveal hundreds of shiny, jewel-like globes – as many as 600, in fact. The pomegranate is the embodiment of the fact that inner values can sometimes outshine the outer appearance. It is native to the region around India, Afghanistan and Iran where it has been revered for many centuries and is widely used as a symbol of youth, fertility and love.
It also appears in Greek mythology: the god Hades carried off the beautiful Persephone and forced her to dwell with him in the underworld. Persephone’s mother, Demeter, the goddess of harvests and fertility, grieved for her daughter, and in her despair caused all green life on earth to shrivel up and die. The king of the gods, Zeus, commanded that Persephone be freed; Hades reluctantly agreed and gave her a pomegranate as a farewell gift.
This was a trick, as anyone who consumes food or drink in the underworld must remain there for all times. Persephone ate some pomegranate seeds and was forced to return to the underworld for several months every year. During this time, Demeter grieves – and this is what causes winter on earth. Persephone’s return to the surface heralds spring and the return of fertility.