8 Fruits which are mythologically related
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
-BY SAEE BODKHE
Why should you read a random article about fruits that are old and have persisted through time to find significance in the tales of gods and goddesses to become symbols of purity, devotion, love, sacrifice, and fertility?
What have these fruits done to become so phenomenal and what are the myths that surround them?
Well, you've already read one paragraph so what’s a couple more.
Having evolved from a hunting-gathering society, humans have always valued plant products like fruits, vegetables, roots, etc utilizing various parts to satisfy their nutritional needs. As society evolved, fruits appeared in myths in all cultures.
It is often a symbol of abundance, associated with goddesses of fertility, plenty, and the agricultural harvest. There is a deep connection between aspects of fruits such as its nutritional properties, harvest time, shape color, and taste that have startled humans into giving them a place in our stories. Here are some examples:
Coconut is also called the ‘Kalpavrusksha’ or the wish-fulfilling divine tree in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It is called so as all parts are usable in some way.
In Vedantic tradition, it is believed that the coconut resembles the human skull. For this reason, coconuts are ceremonially broken during a puja; the devotee is symbolically shattering his or her ego and surrendering themselves to God.
Banana is a delicious fruit used in India mostly as prasada (spiritual food). Bananas have abundant usage in Indian cuisine. The different parts of the banana plant used are fruit, flower, and stem.
Banana leaves in India are traditionally used for serving other foods. They are a common food offered in all rituals as they symbolize the presence of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
The pomegranate fruits have been a source of food and herbal medicines in the Near East and the eastern Mediterranean. Its many seeds made it a symbol of fertility. In Roman culture, the pomegranate signified marriage, and brides wore pomegranate-twig wreaths.
This simple berry tree gives fruits exclusively after the first rainfall of monsoon. Therefore, it is also said that Lord Megha – the God of the Clouds – is said to have descended onto Earth in the form of a Jamun, which is why the color of the fruit is as dark and stormy as the fierce monsoon clouds.
Another popular belief is that Lord Ram lived on the Jamun for years after his exile from Ayodhya.
The mango tree is considered sacred both by the Hindus and the Buddhists. Lord Buddha was once presented with a grove of mango trees under which he used to repose and since then the Buddhists consider the tree holy. The wood of the tree being sacred, it is included in the funeral pyres as well as in the sacred ceremony of Homa.
Grapes have a strong presence in Greek mythology and are associated with Dionysus, the God of harvesting and wine, as a symbol of abundant love from the divine.
Grapes were first brought to Maharashtra by the Persian invaders and now Nashik is the highest producer of grapes in India. It also holds important significance in the Bible as wine is considered to be the blood of Jesus.
Apples are brimming with mythic associations. In China they represent peace, and apple blossoms are a symbol of women's beauty. In other traditions, they can signify wisdom, joy, fertility, and youthfulness.
The most popular tale of the apple comes from an episode of temptation described in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, lived in a garden paradise called Eden.
The lovable fruit, Litchi, was born in China. In Chinese mythology, the litchi tree is a symbol of good fortune and beauty. They consider the Litchi, which is red and a heart-shaped fruit; a symbol of romance and love. In the fifth century, a Chinese emperor would send runners over 800 miles to obtain the fruit from the southern regions of China for the woman he loved - the one who liked litchi a lot.
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