|The Return of Persephone|
In Greek mythology, Demeter was the goddess of earth and agriculture as well as sister to the gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. She had a beloved and beautiful daughter, Persephone. Unbeknownst to Demeter, Zeus, king of the gods and Persephone's father, had agreed to let his brother Hades take Persephone as his bride.
One day, as Persephone was gathering flowers, the ground opened up and she was abducted by Hades, who was god of the underworld. Demeter searched for her daughter and in her anger and grief refused to let anything grow upon the earth. Zeus realized that the earth would soon perish and decided to arrange for Persephone's return.
As the story goes, if one ate anything while visiting the underworld they had to remain there forever. When Hades learned that Persephone was to leave him, he offered her the seeds of a pomegranate to eat, and she ate a few. Some versions of the myth suggest that Persephone had fallen in love with her husband and wanted to make sure she could go back to the underworld to be with him.
Zeus sent the messenger god Hermes to bring Persephone out of the underworld and return her to Demeter. It was a joyous reunion! Spring returned to the earth and once again there were lush plants, crops and grain. But since Persephone had eaten the seeds, Demeter agreed that her daughter would spend three months a year with her husband in the underworld.
Winter comes every year during the time that Persephone is with Hades in the underworld, and when she returns to her mother Spring arrives again.