Breaking the pomegranate – A Greek New Year’s Eve custom

Photo By HeartOfTea

Photo By HeartOfTea

Pomegranate, this bloody red ancient fruit, has been the symbol of fertility and prosperity for thousands of years in Greece and Greek mythology.

During Christmas time in Greece you see pomegranates everywhere. Hanging on the doors at houses , in shops’ decorations and some of them  are real fruits some of them are  silver, gold, brass with glitter, painted in red etc. But breaking a pomegranate on the floor is really a strange custom.

Just before 12 o’clock on New Year’s Eve, all the lights in the house are turned off, thus symbolizing the old year that passes. When the clock strikes 12, someone in the house breaks a pomegranate by throwing it on the doorstep. The red seeds that come out of the fruit represent the luck of the New Year and they say that the more seeds get on the floor the luckier the people in the house will be. If someone gets a red spot by the fruit’s juice they will be very luck that year.

There are variations of the custom in different areas in Greece. In villages the family used to go the church with a pomegranate to bless it. Then the father or the mother of the family would roll it or throw it on the house door to break it. 

Is there any unusual New Year’s Eve custom in your country?

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