Quince – Unity
Genus: Cydonia – Family: Rosaceae
Quince is the fruit of love, fertility and unity; its appearance signals a time of romance or partnership. This is an ideal time for love and creativity to become an inspirational force.
Quince is one of the oldest fruits directly associated with love, marriage and fertility. Quince, Cydonia oblonga is the only member of the Cydonia genus. Quince is native to the Mesopotamian plain and southwest Asia, it flourished in areas that its close relative the apple did not. Quince was cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region circa 3000 BCE. The Greeks associated quince with the legendary city of Cydonia on the island of Crete, which inspired its genus name. Ancient Greeks presented quince as an important gift for wedding celebrations. Quince was offered to the bride to “sweeten” her breath before entering the bridal chamber, thus helping to promote romance and fertility.
The actual taste of a raw quince is quite astringent, it is not sweet. Quince is often described as a cross between an apple and a pear, but the aromatic sweetness is not released until it is peeled and cooked. Apicus, a recipe book compiled in first century Rome explains how to cook quince in honey and wine.
Greek poet, Callimachus, (310-240 BCE) wrote a poem that spoke of “plucking a quince from the orchard of Aphrodite,” the Greek Goddess of love and fertility. Quince was the sacred fruit of Aphrodite, even though some believed it to be an apple. As the Roman culture evolved, quince became associated with Venus, the Roman Goddess of love, who was often depicted holding a quince in her right hand.
Charlemagne introduced this “golden apple,” Cydonium malum to France in 812 when he ordered that it be planted in his royal garden. By the Middle Ages quince were sent as wedding presents to the bride and groom as tokens of love. In the Balkans, a quince tree is planted after a baby is born as a symbol of fertility, love and life.
In Old English, quince was called coyne, adapted from the French word, “coin” because quince was seen as a valuable fruit. In Middle English, “coins” were known as quin. The plural of quin is quins, which is how quince received the common name we know today.
Message: When the spirit of quince appears a doorway to love and successful relationships is opening. This is a time of opening ourselves to love and to remember all of the love that we have shared and experienced. Quince reminds us to value those we love and who love us, and to express our love whenever we can.
Challenge: Becoming jaded by life and taking those we love for granted. It may be our parents, siblings, friends, family or even our life partner that is overlooked. Time to look again, with love.
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