Who knew that berries meant happiness and strawberries? Yes, “fruit mood” is a thing!
That’s why in Supermarket Psychology (also a thing), bright colours are used to set a good, calming mood for shoppers, which tricks us into spending more. But each fruit also has a story to tell.
Arm yourself with this knowledge for the next time you go on your grocery run…
In medieval times, strawberries represented Righteousness, Goodness and Virtue. It has been proven to trigger memories of summer days gone by – and all of them, happy! St. Francis de Sales (born in 1597) noted the berry’s pure appearance upon the ground and remarked: “In tilling our gardens, we cannot but admire the fresh innocence and purity of the strawberry, because although it creeps along the ground, and is continually crushed by serpents, lizards and other venomous reptiles, yet it does not imbibe the slightest impression of poison or the smallest malignant quality, a true sign that it has no affinity with poison.” A fan, no doubt of the fruit.
Sour lemons are associated with feelings of Cleanliness and Health. No wonder, since lemons are used commonly in cleansing agents. They have a long history as a health aid — lemon juice was used as a cure for scurvy aboard ships in the late 1700s. Going a little further back to the Baroque age, documentation shows that lemons were used in funerals. They were put into the hands of the deceased, while mourners would cast the fruit into open graves. Pall bearers and clergymen would also carry them. Why? The medicinal qualities of lemon were said to help prevent infection, and the sharp scent helped combat the smell of decay.
Next time someone calls you pear-shaped, no worries, for the pear is a symbol of Sensuality. It was a fruit sacred to goddesses in ancient Greece and in art, the fruit was all curves and blushing ripeness, doubt the reason behind the visceral association.
The peach, with its fuzzy skin and cleft, inspires feelings of Innocence and Virginity. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that this tender stone fruit was sacred to Hymen – the Roman God of Marriage. In Buddhism, it’s one of the Three Blessed Fruits, and in classical Western art, it was frequently depicted with the Virgin Mary and child in Classical Art, helping to uphold its purity as a symbol of salvation. That is, until Call Me By Your Name came along and ruined centuries of PR.
It’s small wonder that grapes inspire feelings of Abundance and Wealth. Not only is the fruit the main ingredient of wine, something only the rich could afford in ancient times, but in classical antiquity, it was often depicted in sculptures, reliefs, and decor. Grapes are always part of an overflowing cornucopia, aka the horn of plenty
The grand dame of fruit symbolism has got to go to — drum roll — the apple. Featured Christian, Norse, Roman, even Sumerian mythology, this innocuous fruit has incited so much emotion, it’s hard to pin it down to one. From Temptation and Lust, to opposing Fertility, Healthiness and Knowledge, the apple is probably now best known in popular culture to be… Expensive, thanks to Steve Jobs.
By Morgan Awyong / Additional Reporting by Sandhya Mahadevan, October 2018
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