The Legend Behind the Armenian Name of Watermelon

The Legend Behind the Armenian Name of WatermelonThe homeland of watermelon has long been under discussion, and there is no data on where this delicious summer fruit came from. Some scientists believe that it originated in southern Africa while others point to another region on the continent, like Egypt. There is evidence that the Egyptians began to grow watermelons about 4000 years ago.

One of the newest discoveries points to Libya, where archaeologists discovered seeds of watermelon and other fruits dating back 3,000 years. It is said that the watermelon spread from northeastern Africa to the Mediterranean countries. Having reached Armenia, this wonderful fruit has become an integral part of the country’s national cuisine and culture.

Armenian food culture includes many recipes for healthy dishes, with watermelon having its own medicinal role. There is a folk story emphasizing the healing properties of watermelons thanks to their disinfectant properties. It also had an explanation for the origins of the Armenian name of watermelon, dzmeruk (Armenian: Ձմերուկ).

So, the servants of the Armenian king Gagik noticed a mysterious horned snake in the palace. The snake tried to throw off its horns. The king’s servants cut off the snake’s horns and, thus, saved her. In gratitude, the snake brought a seed and left it at the palace the next day.

Soon a big, strange fruit grew from the seed. The servants decided to check the unknown fruit and offered it to an old man who was on the verge of death. The result was miraculous. The old man not only recovered but also felt better than ever before.

King Gagik was also there to taste the natural remedy. He felt strengthened as well. Since then, Armenians called the gift of grateful snake chmeruk, meaning “not dying.” Over time, the letter “ch” became “dz”, so the fruit is now called dzmeruk.


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