Why Pomegranates? (Why You Should Have Some This Christmas)

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My parents recently went on a two week vacation, most of which was spent in Greece. This Christmas, I wanted to find some Greek traditions to incorporate into our Christmas experience...

As it turns out, pomegranates are a huge part of Greek Christmas. Part of the tradition is that the Greeks hang a pomegranate above the door to their house for Christmas.

But… why pomegranates? I mean, they could be hanging anything over their doors, right? So, why are they hanging fruit?

One of the earliest indisputable appearances of Jesus in art is a floor mosaic in a fourth century English church. In it, Jesus Christ, the baby, holds a piece of fruit: a pomegranate.

Pomegranates are also found in many religious paintings - from Sandro Botticelli to Leonardo da Vinci, artists depict pomegranates in the hands of both Mary and the infant Jesus. The fruit, broken or bursting open to reveal its seeds, is seen as a symbol of the fullness of Jesus' purpose here on this earth - his impending suffering and resurrection, and our impending salvation. Similarly, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, pomegranate seeds are a symbol of the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom.

Well, Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thank you for your sweetness.

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