The Malta Independent 22 October 2018, Monday

Ode to the pomegranate

Sunday, 3 December 2017, 08:54 Last update: about 12 months ago

In the Pashtun language in Afghanistan, the word for pomegranate begins with an ‘a’, so a picture of a pomegranate is used to teach children the letter a, like we use the 'a' for apple in English. In Uzbekistan, it is a sacred flower as they say that Eve used a pomegranate to seduce Adam. In Anatolia, Turkey, this fruit symbolises and abundance and femininity, so at a wedding the bride throws a pomegranate on the ground and when it breaks into pieces, it means good luck for the new household.


In Iran, it is a very important fruit and it is used in designs, paintings and tiles. It symbolises a woman's breasts. Each courtyard in Tehran used to have a lovely pomegranate tree and the grandmothers hung them from the ceiling to preserve them in winter and to release their wonderful fragrance in the house.

A poet in Uzbekistan wrote in the 19th century: "It has no window or doors. What is this dome? Many girls, like delicate flowers, made it their home. When I opened the wall to see the lives inside, I found them veiled and their heart full of blood." The expression their heart full of blood is used in that country to mean the utmost unhappiness and human suffering, and the poet used it to describe the lives of Uzbek women in the 19th century: locked and veiled, they suffered a lot. The following that I enjoyed listening to was broadcast on BBC World Service Radio: a DAB+ radio that is giving me endless joy.

The prophet Muhammad once remarked: “Eat the pomegranate, for it purges the system of envy and hatred.” It is said in the Bible that Solomon had an orchard full of them and the children of Israel longed for it in the desert.

The following I downloaded from the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. “This punica granatum is loaded with important nutrients and has compounds with powerful medicinal properties and anti-inflammatory effects.”

May we treasure our indigenous trees.


Joe Portelli


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