The pomegranate is one of most recognizable symbols of Armenia. It symbolizes fertility and fortune in Armenian mythology. It was also believed to be a guardian against the evil eye.
At weddings, the bride would throw a pomegranate to break it into pieces. The scattered seeds of the pomegranate ensured that she would bear children. In Van, those women who wanted to give birth to a son ate bread made from dough mixed with the seeds of a pomegranate.
During present-day weddings in Yerevan, the bride gives a small dried pomegranate called “taratosik” to unmarried guests as a blessing.
The importance of the pomegranate is testified by ancient Armenian manuscripts and stone carvings. Pomegranate was also popular in art, one of the most famous artworks being Sergey Pardjanov’s film “The Color of Pomegranates.” In the movie, the pomegranate with a wrinkled skin and fresh pulp symbolizes the invincible soul of Armenia.
Even today, the pomegranate is a common theme in Armenian art and culture. It even turned into a national cliché. At pretty much any art exhibition, you are very likely to see paintings featuring the pomegranate. Souvenir shops offer a plethora of metal, ceramic, and textile pomegranates, as well as pomegranate-shaped knick-knacks.
After the events of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, many Armenian artists used pomegranates in their lyrics and poems to depict a wide range of emotions – from suffering to hope – and concepts – like rebirth and survival of a nation.
In closing, a traditional ending for Armenian fairly-tales:
“Three pomegranates fell down from heaven: One for the story teller, one for the listener, and one for the whole world.”