29 Aug 2013
ORANGES AND ITS HISTORY
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
One day Mr. Pomelo and Mrs Mandarin married and the Orange was born and became a tree. In general, it is believed that sweet orange trees have originated in Southeast Asia, or southern China, and that they were first cultivated in China around 2500 BC.
This proves that even before Jesus Christ we had already products produced in China. Today we get them mostly in form of toys or textiles.
In Europe, the orange was introduced to Italy by the crusaders in the 11th century and were grown widely in the south for medicinal purposes, but the sweet orange was unknown until the late 15th century or the beginnings of the 16th century, when Italian and Portuguese merchants brought orange trees into the Mediterranean area. Shortly afterward, the sweet orange quickly was adopted as an edible fruit. It was considered a luxury item and wealthy people grew oranges in private conservatories, called orangeries. By 1646, the sweet orange was well known throughout Europe but only by the rich !
Spanish explorers introduced the sweet orange into the American continent. Spanish missionaries brought orange trees to Arizona between 1707 and 1710 at least they did one healthy thing.
When Mr. G. and I compare our childhood, he in Italy had eaten oranges, figs, grapefruits, dates, pomegranates, etc, all things which I had never heard of as a child in Germany. I ate appels, pears, cherries, and berries.
I always remember the very first time I had eaten an orange. It was on a 6 December, at St.Nicholas when I found an orange together with sweets in my little boot I had put outside my room. I must have been 9 years old in 1952. It was something very special and hard to get in the after war times.
Of course that changed and from the 60th/70th on oranges became a common fruit just like an appel. Everybody today can afford to buy oranges. Even worse, Belgium's city Binche, (I wrote about it here ) is famous for its carnival where the "Gilles" march through the town with baskets of oranges. .
These oranges are thrown to, and sometimes at, members of the crowd gathered to view the procession. The vigour and longevity of the orange-throwing event causes sometimes injuries, blue eyes and – some residents choose to seal windows so that they can't be broken. The oranges are considered good luck because they are a gift from the Gilles and it is an insult to throw them back.