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Food Mythology

Strawberry- Legend of the Fruit of Love.

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The tempting luscious plumpy Red strawberries are irresistible. They are defined as a symbol of love and passion. The bright red color that they possess is a symbol of passion and the shape defines a heart filled with love. The strawberries have been a popular flavor for cakes, cookies, ice creams and desserts. The strawberry is also a known Aphrodisiac and the perfect shape and size for dipping in chocolate; strawberries are perfect as a simple tool of seduction. As per some Legends, it is said that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it with a member of the opposite sex, you will fall in love with each other. In the French countryside, there was once a tradition of serving newlyweds cold strawberry soup to help promote the aphrodisiac of honeymoon romance. The Native Americans also believed that if a pregnant woman carried strawberry leaves in her pocket they would relieve the pains of pregnancy and support to clear toxins and aid in child-rearing. In 2600 years B. C, The Chinese Yellow Emperor used the leaves of the strawberry plant in a weak tea to detoxify and reduce the effects of aging. The Romans used Strawberries to lift the spirits and relieve bad breath as well as to treat a variety of digestive complaints. The popular reputation of love fruit has roots in ancient cultures, the fruit is associated with the goddess of love and fertility across civilizations. Here’s how the fruit got originated and associated as the fruit of love.

Tears of Separation – A Greek Narrative.

The legend is connected to Myrrha the mother of Adonis, who was a mortal lover of Aphrodite.  Myrrha was a daughter of King Cinyras  and Queen Cenchras. Myrrha once got filled with lust and fell in love with her father. According to Greek tradition having one’s father was a grave crime. However, Myrrha tricked her father into having sexual intercourse with her for nine night in complete darkness. Her father then chased her and she was transformed into a myrrh tree and as per some legends, Aphrodite’s curse her to get transformed into a tree. As myrrh tree, Myrrha gave birth to Adonis. Aphrodite found Adonis and asked Persephone, the queen of the underworld to raise him. Soon the Adonis turned out to be the most handsome man on earth, causing a dispute between Aphrodite and Persephone. To solve the conflict Zeus appointed the Muse Calliope as judge of this dispute who gave a verdict that Adonis would spend one-third year with each. Aphrodite and Adonis spent hours together in arms of each other. Aphrodite also used to advice Adonis to hunt animals that were safe and not chase the wild beasts. But one day Adonis had an encounter with a wild bear. The bear happened to would Adonis badly and he was groaning in pain, As soon as Aphrodite came to know of this she ran and held Adonis in her arms. Adonis could not survive and died groaning in arms of Aphrodite. Aphrodite wept tears of sorrow and separation. The tears Aphrodite wept were heart shaped and became the strawberry and tears that mixed with the blood of Adonis became the Anemone flower. 

The Nordic Holy Fruit.

The strawberries in the Viking Age were considered sacred and a forbidden fruit to be consumed by mankind. The fruit had a strong association with Friga, the Norse Goddess of Marriage. It is said that Friga was jealous and possessive about strawberries and required all strawberries be left for her. Her possession can be defined by a rule that if anyone approached the heavens with traces of strawberry juice on then they would not be allowed. It was also said if a Viking Baby died they ascended to the heavens in the form of strawberries. The seeds of strawberry were symbolized of the souls of the babies. The Vikings believed that eating a strawberry is as good as eating a baby.

Uniting Lovers- A Cherokee Legend

The Cherokee is one of the indigenous Native American tribe of the Southeastern Woodlands. The Cherokee word for strawberry is ‘ani’. The old Cherokee country was known for its abundance of strawberries and other wild fruits. Strawberries for Cherokee are a symbol of peace and good luck. The Cherokee legend defines the fruit to be tempting and also part of the first creation. The legend says that o-gi-do-da ga-lv-la-di-he-hi, the primordial father and Cherokee creator, created the first man and first woman. They built a house at the far end of a dense forest. They were a happy couple but had occasional disagreements. Once so happened that they were arguing over something and the first woman got so annoyed that she decided to leave and never return. She started walking towards the west and never looked back. After a few days, the first man also followed the same path to get her back. Seeing the first man disturbed the Sun asked him if he was still angry and would he like to have the first woman back. The First man readily told the sun that he was not raged anymore and would love to have her back.  However, the Sun found the first woman was still angry. To calm her anger the sun grew pretty looking large and ripe blueberries. But the first woman ignored the berries. The sun further caused to grow luscious dark and plumpy blackberries. But even these were ignored by the first woman. Once again the sun grew some dainty raspberries but even this attempt went in vain. Finally, the sun made a plant that was never seen before to grow. The plant covered the ground in front of her in the area and the air with its luscious aroma.  This time the first woman stopped to look at this plant. The plant had shiny leaves and the most tempting and luscious red berries that she had never seen. The first woman immediately picked up one and tasted the irresistible berry. As she ate the strawberry her anger just vanished and her heart was filled with love. She now wanted to go back to the first man. She gathered some berries and started to walk back towards the east. She on her way met the first and both shared berries and walked back home.

The Bavarian fruit for elves.

The Bavarians consider the Strawberries to be the offerings for abundance and fertility. The country practices the ritual tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. The elves are said to be fond of strawberries and this offering brings healthy calves and abundance of milk in return.

The Virgin Mary connection.

The middle Christian art and folklore identify strawberry to be the symbol of spiritual purity, decency, righteousness, and perfect nobility of spirit.it is also believed that on the St. John’s day that falls in the month of June, the Virgin Mary accompanies children to go for strawberry plucking. The three leaves of strawberry also symbolize the holy trinity and eternity of Mary’s loving mediation in Heaven.

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