Pomegranate … for good luck

One of the oldest traditional holiday customs on New Year’s Eve is to break a ripe pomegranate fruit.

The Greek scientist, researcher of folklore M. Varvounis, explains where this custom came to us and what it means.

The tradition of breaking a juicy fruit on the New Year goes back centuries and originated, presumably, in the Peloponnese and Serres. And only much later – in all of Greece.

The fruit embodies the strongest positive symbolism, being the ancient Eastern emblem of the sun. The color of pomegranate juice is so reminiscent of blood that the Greeks claimed that the pomegranate was filled with the blood of Dionysus himself. Blood is the carrier of vital energy, therefore, the blood-red pomegranate was regarded by them as a symbol of life.

The structure of this amazing fruit is also deeply symbolic: a multitude of grains hidden under a single shell evoked associations with ancient philosophers with a single universe in its diversity. In addition, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility and abundance, rebirth and immortality. In mythology, pomegranate symbolizes immortality.

Ancient traditions require that the family visit the church on New Year’s Eve in order to attend the Divine Liturgy (Θεία Λειτουργία του Μεγάλου Βασιλείου) and thus celebrate the New Year. The keeper of the home, the hostess, takes the pomegranate with her to the church to “bless” the fruit. And when the whole family returns from the temple to the house, the fruit must be carried through the threshold first, so that luck does not leave the home in the new year.

The door is literally opened with a pomegranate, at this moment it breaks open, thus “sanctifying the house”, filling it with health, happiness and joy – in such a large quantity as there are grains in a pomegranate.

One of the oldest traditional holiday customs on New Year’s Eve is to break a ripe pomegranate fruit.

The Greek scientist, researcher of folklore M. Varvounis, explains where this custom came to us and what it means.

The tradition of breaking a juicy fruit on the New Year goes back centuries and originated, presumably, in the Peloponnese and Serres. And only much later – in all of Greece.

The fruit embodies the strongest positive symbolism, being the ancient Eastern emblem of the sun. The color of pomegranate juice is so reminiscent of blood that the Greeks claimed that the pomegranate was filled with the blood of Dionysus himself. Blood is the carrier of vital energy, therefore, the blood-red pomegranate was regarded by them as a symbol of life.

The structure of this amazing fruit is also deeply symbolic: a multitude of grains hidden under a single shell evoked associations with ancient philosophers with a single universe in its diversity. In addition, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility and abundance, rebirth and immortality. In mythology, pomegranate symbolizes immortality.

Ancient traditions require that the family visit the church on New Year’s Eve in order to attend the Divine Liturgy (Θεία Λειτουργία του Μεγάλου Βασιλείου) and thus celebrate the New Year. The keeper of the home, the hostess, takes the pomegranate with her to the church to “bless” the fruit. And when the whole family returns from the temple to the house, the fruit must be carried through the threshold first, so that luck does not leave the home in the new year.

The door is literally opened with a pomegranate, at this moment it breaks open, thus “sanctifying the house”, filling it with health, happiness and joy – in such a large quantity as there are grains in a pomegranate.





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