PersephoneIn greek mythology, Persephone is the goddess of the Underworld. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, goddess of the harvest. She was a beautiful girl and everyone loved her. But Hades wanted her for himself.
One day, when she and the Oceanids were collecting flowers on the plain of Enna, the earth opened suddenly and Hades rode up from the gap in his chariot, pulled by magnificent black stallions. He abducted her to the Underworld immediately. The episode was seen by no one except the sun god Helios who sees everything happening in the world.
When Demeter discovered her daughter was missing, she wandered the earth, looking for her daughter. Eventually, Helios, the all-seeing, told her what had happened. Demeter was so angry that she withdrew herself in loneliness, and all fertility on earth stopped. Plants, flowers and trees withered and died and crops didn't grow. The earth grew barren and all the creatures began to starve. Winter and cold came.
Finally, Zeus sent Hermes down to Hades to make him release Persephone. Hades grudgingly agreed, but before he sent her back, he tricked her into eating a pomegranate. She ate seven seeds of the fruit and by so doing, she was bound to stay in the Underworld.
Zeus had then to negotiate with Demeter and Hades. As a compromise, Persephone had to stay there one third of the year in the Underworld, one third with her mother and the remaining one third with herself.
Demeter wasn't happy with the ruling. During the months when her daughter was in the Underworld, Demeter refused to let anything grow, plants and crops died and winter began.
When the daughter rejoined her mother three months later Spring returned and earth came back to life.
Hence, this myth was used to explain the changing seasons of spring to winter in nature.
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