Sunday, 29 March 2009

Passiontide & Passion Fruit



I know-it seems like a lame joke, but it's not (it's really just a lame post). Basically, since i find passion fruit very tasty, i was looking it up, and i was very surprised to read how this fruit got its name. Since Jesuits have been something on my mind i thought that today would be a good day to share some of the interesting info that i found on the Passiflora online site. Why is this day different from all other days (can you tell that Pesach is on the brain?)? Apparently today is Passion Sunday and marks the beginning of Passiontide, the last two weeks of Lent. But that's just a little excuse to take the nerdiness up a notch. Apparently, passion fruits are not named so for the intense sour-stick-like flavour that they have for which many people are passionate. I know it's silly-that was the reason i made up because i love passion fruit. I suppose if we really want to get to the bottom of this, we should start at the beginning. What does 'passion' mean, and from where does the word come?

Apparently, the Latin passus from pati or patior means 'to suffer', as in to let something happen passively (if you've ever read Jane Austen or something of that ilk, you'll be familiar with the term). With this in mind, the whole Jesus being cruxified thing becomes clear.

Anyway, getting back to the other edible passion--the fruit (that was a bad joke about mass and JC being edible) apparently, a bunch of Jesuits saw the symbolism of the passion in the various properties of the fruit, and named it the passionfruit! Is that some form of projection?! Here's what the Passiflora site says:

The Passiflora or 'Passion flower' (Flos passionis) acquired its name from descriptions of its flower parts supplied in the Seventeenth Century by Spanish priests in South America, known at that time as the 'New Spain'. It was known by the Spanish as "La Flor de las cinco Llagas" or the 'The Flower With The Five Wounds.' 'Passionis' refers to (Christ's) suffering. The parts were interpreted from drawings and dried plants by Giacomo Bosio, a churchman and historian, in Rome (1609), as representing various elements of the Crucifixion.

And here's a taste of some of the symbolism:

The five petals and five sepals are the ten disciples less Judas & Peter. The corona filaments are the crown of thorns. The five stamen with anthers match the five sacred wounds & the three stigma the nails. This symbolism is not universal however, in Japan it is sometimes known as 'The Clock-faced Plant' and apparently has recently been adopted as as symbol for homosexual Japanese youths.

It seems like a bit of a stretch, but the name somehow stuck. For a really interesting article about the symbolism of the passion fruit in art and poetry from the 17th century, click here. The guy who wrote the article, Michael E Abrams, is like one of the Hardy boys on art--it's pretty cool stuff.

1 comment:

  1. ach schatje - jij bent ZO slim! en ook een klein beetje nerdy! Maar het is allemaal heel interessant!!
    Je moeder