The Greek Myth Behind The Origin Of Mint

Do you ever wonder how earthquakes happen or how the sun moves across the sky? While we have modern science to explain today's natural phenomena, the ancient Greeks had their own interpretations in the form of myths. According to The World History Encyclopedia, the Greeks believed that earthquakes happened as a result of Poseidon, the god of water, pounding his trident on the ground. They also believed that the sun rises and sets because Helios, the god of the sun, rides his chariot across the sky. Not every myth is that simple, though.

The ancient Greeks' explanation for the seasons, for example, is quite a story. Persephone and her mother, Demeter, are the goddesses of grain, plants, and agriculture. One day, Persephone was hanging out in a field, and Hades, the god of the underworld, spots her and instantly falls in love. With Zeus' permission, Hades takes her to be his queen. Upset with her daughter's fate, Demeter casts a drought over the land until Persephone is returned. Before Hades lets Persephone go, he gives her some pomegranate to eat, ensuring that the fruit's delicious taste would bring her back to him. The gods made a deal that Persephone would have to stay with Hades for a third of the year, signifying the winter months. The Greeks even had an explanation for the fresh herb mint.

An affair leads to the creation of an herb

While we all know that Hades is the god of the underworld, there are also beings known as nymphs that hang out near forests, trees, mountains, and bodies of water. Minthe is a river nymph that watches over one of the rivers of the underworld, the River Cocytus (via Greek Boston). It was only a matter of time before Minthe and Hades met, and they began having an affair. Hades' wife learned of this affair and was outraged.

Being the goddess of agriculture and vegetation, Persephone turned Minthe into a plant. Although Hades couldn't undo his wife's actions, he did grant a pleasant, sweet smell upon Minthe so that she would continue to captivate anyone in her presence, even in her new state (per New York Botanical Garden). Now you'll have a fun fact to tell your party guests as you make mint julep cocktails or mojitos for them.