The Symbolic Meaning of the Apple in Armenian Folklore – in Fairy Tales and Wedding Songs
The symbol of the apple has a special role in the Armenian folk thinking. It is perceived as a universal symbol of health, youth, love and fertility, the semantics of which has especially rich manifestations in Armenian folk tales and wedding songs.
In the fairy tale, the apple is associated with stable motives. The main motives of the apple in the Armenian fairy tale are associated with marriage and the birth of heroes. The hero or heroine chooses the bride or groom by throwing apples. The hero sends his girlfriend an apple, which contains a wedding ring. Another group of motives is associated with childbirth. In Armenian fairy tales, an apple is that supernatural fruit that a childless king and queen eat and give birth to a child. Children and animals born from supernatural apples usually have supernatural characteristics. In fairy tales an apple is an immortal fruit that should serve as a medicine for a sick king. It is noteworthy that the three apples are
also mentioned in the most common formula of ending in Armenian fairy tales: “Three apples fell from heaven...”.
The semantics of the apple as a symbol of love and fertility is most evident in wedding ritual and songs. The central symbol of the wedding, the wedding tree, was decorated like an apple tree. Lovers give each other apples, sent red apples to the wedding guests, just as the red apple served as a sign of virginity the day after the wedding. These perceptions are also evident in wedding songs, especially in the hymns, where the bride and groom and other participants of the ritual are presented as apples grown on the tree.
The motives of Armenian fairy tales and wedding songs that we discuss show that the apple in both genres has the same symbolic meaning. It is perceived as a symbol of love and fertility. In Armenian folk tales, only positive, life-affirming perceptions are associated with the apple, namely, the apple is a symbol of marriage, fertility, health and youth.