Do you know the deeper meaning behind your favourite berries?
Are you a fan of berries? Good for you, they’re full of stuff that’s great for your body and they’re incredibly yummy. But how much do you really know about your favourite berries? Do you know that they have their own personalities and lives of their own? No? Well, if you want to find out, keep reading!
Are mysterious blackberries your favourite type of berries? They’re delicious and strong-flavoured, but they also have some pretty dark symbolism behind them. They have a strong religious meaning: in Christianity, they have been used in art to symbolize spiritual neglect or ignorance, while their deep colour is supposed to represent Christ’s blood.
Some cultures associate blackberries with bad omens and in some European stories, the blackberries are mentioned as death fruits. They are also often mentioned as symbols of sorrow, haste and even arrogance.
Elderberries are also often associated with bad omens, and in Pagan mythology, their spirits are considered to be extremely mean. It’s also not advisable to mess with an elder tree: this would anger the spirits, while burning elder wood can cause evil and sleeping under an elder tree can bring dreams of death.
Other themes connected with elderberries are not any more positive: this type of berries usually symbolises remorse, sorrow and sometimes zeal – perhaps that’s why we don’t really eat elderberries in their basic form and prefer to enjoy them in jams and syrups.
Cranberries also carry a number of different meanings – even their name tells two different stories. Some believe that they got their name because of the fact that cranes liked them, while others think that their name could be linked to the pilgrims of Massachusetts who believed the blossoms of the berries were shaped like the head of a crane.
Cranberries are also associated with Thanksgiving, a holiday that’s very popular in the US and Canada – cranberry sauce is an important part of every Thanksgiving meal. But interestingly there are no records of cranberries actually being eaten on the first Thanksgiving, although it would make sense – according to some traditions, they also symbolize kindness and generosity.
Gooseberries are very interesting berries that also carry a wide range of meanings. In Britain, for example, when kids ask where babies come from, their parents tell them that they are found “under a gooseberry bush.”
In the newspaper business, the term “great gooseberry season” is used to describe a period when there isn’t much happening and there isn’t many headline news, so stories such as the largest gooseberry are often published instead. And if you’re “playing gooseberry”, it means that you are the third person and a possible chaperone of a couple that is dating.
According to a Greek legend,, raspberries were discovered while the Olympian gods were searching for berries on Mount Ida. In Christianity, they are seen as a symbol of kindness; their red juice is thought of as blood which runs through the heart, which is also believed to be the place where kindness originates.
Because of their delicate texture, they also symbolize fragility, while a tribe in the Philippines believes that raspberry canes, when hung outside a house, protect the family inside from any souls that try to enter the home.
According to different sources, raspberries are also thought to have many medicinal benefits, many of them associated with childbirth and pregnancy. Pregnant women who drank raspberry tea are supposed to experience a less problematic labour, and raspberry tea is also supposed to help relieve nausea during pregnancy. But that’s not all: gargling raspberry juice is supposed to help relieve sore throat, while rubbing joints with the canes of the fruit is believed to ease pain.
Strawberries are probably the most popular berries out there, and one of the reasons for that, apart from their delicious flavour, could also be the fact that they carry a very positive symbolism. In Christianity, strawberries symbolize righteousness and spiritual merit, while the structure of the trifoliate leaves represents the trinity.
In other traditions, strawberries symbolise perfection, sweetness of life as well as modesty, because the berries are often found under the leaves. They also carry a strong link to all things connected to love, and they are believed to clean and purify the body of everything toxic, according to Native American traditions.