Date of Performance/Collection: 4/12/2018
Primary Language: English
The following was recorded from a conversation I had with a friend marked EAL. I am marked CS. She shared with me a religious myth she grew up learning in school.
CS: “So how did you learn this myth?”
EAL: “I was really into Greek mythology as a kid and my mom bought me like a big book of Greek mythologies and we’d read them together as bedtime stories when I was really young.”
CS: “Can you tell me the story?”
EAL: “So basically Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, the god of harvest. She was very carefree, beautiful, and like vibrant. And so Hades, who is the God of the underworld, who is like dark and depressing, saw her and said he wanted her to be his wife. So she was playing in the field and his chariot comes up out of the ground and he abducts her and takes her to the underworld. And then because she was in the underworld and Demeter was so upset, winter came because she was heartbroken about the abduction of her daughter. And while Persephone was in the underworld she ate six seeds so like she has to stay in the underworld since she ate the food of the dead for six months, so that kind of explains the seasons. So the summer she can be with Demeter and its like the harvest season, and then the winter she has to be with Hades and that’s why it’s winter.”
CS: “Did you ever hear varied versions of this myth?”
EAL: “Yeah I’ve heard it before, maybe without the season aspect, so I think there’s definitely variations that leave that out. In others they’re married, but in the version I’ve read she doesn’t love him at all and is just kind of stuck with him.
The participant is a freshman at the University of Southern California and was raised in Chicago, Illinois with a strong Christian religious background. Her mom introduced her to mythology, mostly Greek and Egyptian, at a very young age.
An in person conversation recorded while walking to an event.
I found this myth really captivating because I also used to love Greek mythology and was an avid reader of myths such as this one. I hadn’t heard this version before in regards to how that is where seasons originate. I believe when I used to read Greek mythology it was from a children’s book so it makes sense why details such as that would be left out. It is interesting to see how folk myths, even when tied to religion, still have variations from one to the next.