Throughout history, the pomegranate has been revered for the beauty of its shrub, flowers and its fruit which symbolizes sanctity, fertility, and abundance. It is associated with the goddesses of fertility, plenty and the harvest. Sometimes, however, the fruit represents the pain of earthly pleasures, overindulgence, and temptation.
The pomegranate, "the miracle fruit," has diverse cultural-religious significance as a symbol of life and fertility. It is also seen as a symbol of power (the imperial orb), blood and death. In Greek mythology pomegranates also symbolized fertility as well as beauty and eternal life since they were believed to have sprung from the blood of Adonis. The pomegranate also features prominently in the myth of Persephone, her kidnapping and forced marriage to Hades the god of the Underworld. Additionally, a large, dry pomegranate was found in the tomb of the butler to the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut (1507-1458 BCE, the second confirmed female Pharaoh).
Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness because it is said to have 613 seeds that correspond with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Old Testament (Torah). In some artistic depictions, the pomegranate is found in the hand of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
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