Circle of the Seasons

By GCleare

The Gypsy Apples

Most of us know the myth of Persephone, who was Zeus's daughter. She was the most beautiful of all maidens and was kidnapped by Hades, lord of the Underworld. She became queen there, and ruled happily. But her mother, Ceres, was so desolate without her that all the crops withered and winter came to the world. The people were starving.

Finally giving in to pressure from the other gods, Zeus forced Hades to return Persephone. But it was a rule of the Fates that whoever consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Before Persephone was released, Hades tricked her into eating seven pomegranate seeds. He couldn't bear to let her go forever.

She was bound to return to the underworld for a time each year, after the fall harvest. While she was gone and her mother mourned her absence, winter returned and the crops withered again. When Persephone returned to her mother in the spring, the world rejoiced and crops sprouted again in the fields.

We decorate our table with this beautiful fruit for the holidays, when we find it in the markets here in the U.S. The color is spectacular, and the juice is rich with healthful antioxidants.

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