The Blessing of Pomegranates – a New Armenian Tradition to Celebrate the New Year

The Blessing of Pomegranates

The following is an excerpt from a recent newsletter from
St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL.
Father Paren Galstyan blessing the pomegranates at St. David Armenian Church (photo credit: Anna-Lusi Simonyan)
‘In 2015, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All
Armenians, blessed pomegranates in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin for the
first time and established it as an annual tradition on New Year’s Eve (or
day).

The Pomegranate is considered by many faith traditions to
be the fruit of the tree of knowledge and a symbol of abundance and life.
The custom of blessing fruits was known among the
Israelites.  The Jews offered to the
Temple the first harvest, which included wheat, barley, grapes, figs,
pomegranates, olives and honey.

In nations of the
East, the pomegranate is considered to be the king of all fruits, not only
because of its pleasing taste and medicinal properties, but also because the
top of the pomegranate resembles a crown. 
Some believe that the design of ancient royal crowns was based on the
pomegranate “crown”.

The pomegranate has
been known in the East from the 12th to the 7th centuries BC.  Because Cartagena was known for its
pomegranates, the ancient Romans called the pomegranate malum punicum
‘Cartagena (Phoenician) apple’ and malum granatum ‘granular apple’.

As a national symbol, the pomegranate has been widely used
in Armenian architecture, carpet weaving, arts and crafts and manuscripts
illuminated by Gregory Khlatetsi, Toros Taronatsi, Toros Roslin, and in the
Haghpat and other Gospels.

In Christianity the
pomegranate symbolizes the diversity of God’s grace, the Church.  Just as the seeds of the pomegranate are
separated by thin membranes yet held tightly together, in the same way the
Christian Church holds all Christians around the world together in Christ’s
love; though they are separate, they are not divided.  Thus the pomegranate shows unity in
diversity.

The pomegranate’s
crown represents Jesus’ crown and His sovereignty over the entire world.  The red color symbolizes His salvific Blood
that was shed for all.  The popular
belief is that each one contains 365 seeds corresponding to the number of days
in a year, symbolizing new life in Christ and the New Year.’

Our blessed pomegranate. It may look ordinary to you, but we know better!

Doug and I witnessed this special service and received a
blessed pomegranate to bring home. You can be sure it will be used in some of our
favorite recipes. (Scroll through the recipes lists on the right side of the screen – or – go to the search bar at the top of the page and type ‘pomegranate‘ to find a variety of our recipes!) 

Pear and Pomegranate Salad
Stanley Tucci’s Quinoa with Pomegranate and Pistachios
Cranberry Sauce with Pomegranate






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