Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Origin of the Seasons

The myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades is one of the most famous of Greek mythology. It explains the origin of the seasons; the death of the plants in the winter, and their rebirth in the spring. Hades plays the villain, Persephone is the victim, Demeter the heroine, and Zeus is something of a narrator because he oversaw all of the events related to the rape of Persephone.

Demeter's virgin daughter Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Hades. Demeter searched for her ceaselessly, preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed to release her, but gave her a pomegranate. When she ate the 4 pomegranate seeds (one seed for every month of a Greek winter), she was bound to him for one third of the year. Persephone's time in the underworld corresponds with the unfruitful seasons of the ancient Greek calendar, and her return to the upper world with springtime.

So when Persephone was in the underworld, it was cold and plants did not grow. This was winter. When Persephone lived with Demeter, flowers bloomed and the Earth was abundant. This was spring and summer. In Greek mythology there were only three seasons, autumn did not exist. (info taken from various web sources).


The story is more complex than this but this is the gist of it. It's surprising that they never made a film out of this cool story.

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