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The Symbolism and Beauty of Pomegranates

Do you like pomegranates?  I have been seeing them more and more over the years both as decorative items and in the grocery store isles. I really like the holiday ornaments that are, or include pomegranates. I also think pomegranate trees are beautiful with their bright red-orange blossoms.  I think I may just plant one.

Some of the artisans I work with make ceramic or polymer pomegranates.  I also noticed they were from the Middle East – Israel and Turkey and follow their cultural traditions, of which the pomegranate plays a part. I never knew pomegranates had symbolic significance but as it turns out, they are highly symbolic and greatly revered in the Eastern Hemisphere, and have been since before recorded time.  As people traveled to the Western Hemisphere, they brought their pomegranates with them and started cultivating them here. Afterall, they have a LOT of seeds! So now the pomegranate is a common fruit here but still revered in certain cultural traditions.

I decided to dive in and find out what pomegranates were all about and here is what I found out:

Since as far back as the 5th millennium BC, evidence of pomegranates have been found through carbon imprinting of the interior anatomy of the seeded fruit, however some of the oldest medical writings from around 1500 BC indicated Egyptians used them to treat tapeworms (and it is still used for treating tapeworms today) and other miscellaneous infections. Ancient Egyptians revered pomegranates as a symbol of ambition and prosperity. 

Pomegranates, although thought to have originated somewhere between Iran and Northern India, have been cultivated and spread throughout the vast Mediterranean regions.  Around the 16th Century they were introduced into the Spanish regions, which were then further introduced into California with the influx of Spanish settlers in 1769, California and Arizona being some of the largest cultivators of pomegranates.  Today pomegranates are widely cultivated around the world in the warmer and more arid areas.  

We see pomegranates throughout history revered symbolically as life-preserving, fertility generating, and bringing good luck.  It is valued as a symbol of abundance and prosperity in ancient times as well as today as represented on coins. Considered a fruit of the highest nobility, it was also considered to be of exceptional beauty.  High Priests and Kings had pomegranates embroidered on clothing and engraved onto 2 pillars outside of the main entrances of King Solomon’s Temple. The Song of Solomon 4:3 is quoted as saying: “Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.”

 

In Ancient Israel and Judaism Pomegranates are traditionally eaten during Rosh Hashanah because it’s multiplentious seeds symbolize fruitfulness. They also represent the mystical experience of kabbalah in this Jewish Mystical Tradition of entering into the “garden of Pomegranates.”  Another attribute of the pomegranate is that it is believed it would ward off the “Evil Eye,” a belief largely inherent throughout the Middle Eastern countries.  

In somewhat of a contrast, in the European Christian traditions, pomegranates are inferred to be of high value as a fruit of nobility and are found in various motifs of Artwork, Mosaics, Architecture, and Fabrics, however, the symbolism is a little different as it is almost solely related to the story of Jesus and his crucifixion. They are generally depicted as being held by the Christ child or Mother Mary.  If they are split or bursting open, they are symbolizing the fullness of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection. According to J.E. Cirlot, author of The Book of Symbols, the significance of the pomegranate represents “reconciliation of the multiple and diverse within apparent unity” based on the interior structure of the fruit. The Biblical interpretation of the pomegranate is thus a symbol of the “oneness of the Universe”.  

 

In Islam, legend has it that each pomegranate contains one seed that has come down from Paradise.  Quite often, with the symbolism of pomegranates being fertility, the pomegranate is split open by the husband after the wedding as the newly wed couple enter the door of their house.

The symbolism of pomegranates has endured throughout history, now and back through ancient times representing well wishes and the granting of good fortune, multiplying of abundance, and blessings of fertility for both families and lands.  Pomegranates are often found in homes, churches & temples, and in artwork and garments as a testament of the fruit of highest distinction throughout the eastern hemisphere, and having also migrated to the western hemisphere the traditions continued to spread. We have found today as well as in ancient times, pomegranates are also valued for their medicinal and healthful qualities. By the way, eat the seeds, too.  They are high in fiber.

Faerie Dust is has now acquired beautiful sets of pomegranates for your home, or to give as thoughtful and well meaning gifts.  These ceramic pomegranates come in a set of 3 and have six beautiful colors to choose from. They are intricately designed and handmade and are imported from Turkey.  They will beautifully grace any table or shelf to remind us of their promise of abundance and prosperity in all you do.

Make your gift giving exceptional with Pomegranates.  You can find our selection HERE
or click on the picture below:

Pomegranates

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