Persephone, Demeter, and Hades
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Pour yourself a glass of POM Wonderful juice. Rub on some Burt's Bees pomegranate anti-aging lotion. And break open an Odwalla Strawberry Pomegranate granola bar. It's time to talk about pomegranates.
The pomegranate is a highly symbolic fruit for several different world religions, and not because of its high anti-oxidant content. In Judaism, the pretty, red fruit is considered sacred because it is said to have 613 seeds, the same number as the commandments in the Torah. Some also say that the fruit that Eve ate in the Garden of Eden was a pomegranate. (POM Wonderful agrees.) This is interesting to think of in context with the myth of Persephone – here we have two women who really should've avoided the taste of the pomegranate.
In Orthodox Christianity, the pomegranate is associated with resurrection and eternal life, and it's often shown in depictions of both Mary and Jesus. (Check out this Botticelli painting of Mary with Jesus and a pomegranate.) Some have linked Persephone's yearly return from the underworld with Jesus' bursting from his tomb, so it makes some sense that Christians have adopted this pagan symbol.
To this day in Greece, pomegranates are traditionally eaten on Christmas and other important holidays.