Today is officially the first day of spring and a time when nature is reborn with fruitfulness. For the ancient Greeks, the natural phenomena such as the change of the season, were attributed to divine intervention.
One of the most beautiful legends of Greek mythology telling a tale as to why the seasons change, is the story of Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus with whom the god Hades fell in love with and kidnapped to the Underworld.
According to the myth, Demeter, the goddess of fruitfulness and fertility who was responsible for the good harvest and prosperity of nature, had gave birth to lovely Persephone with the god Zeus.
But one day, the young woman was picking flowers along with the goddess Athena, Artemis and the Oceanids nymphs, when suddenly the Earth opened and Hades appeared with his dark chariot and grabbed her before anyone could come to her rescue. Her screams were only heard by Hecate and the Sun.
After losing her daughter, the grief-stricken Demeter withered nature, stopping crops from bearing their fruits and the flowers from blooming. The Sun eventually took pity on her and revealed that it was Hades who took her daughter. Demeter then went to the Underworld to ask for her daughter back.
However, Hades was reluctant to part from his beloved. He agreed on a settlement according to which Persephone would spend eight months of the year on earth with her mother and the remaining four months in the Underworld with Hades.
Legend has it, that when Persephone was taken to the underworld for the four months agreed upon, Demeter would become so unhappy that she would freeze nature making it winter on earth. During the rest of the year, flowers blossomed, nature was fertile and the weather was good, reflecting Demeter’s feelings of euphoria when she would be reunited with her daughter.