Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Celebrate National Watermelon Day!


Still Life with Watermelons and Apples in a Landscape, 1771

Luis Meléndez (Spanish, 1716-1780)
August 3 is National Watermelon Day so let’s get ready with some ripe and juicy watermelon tales!
Postscript: Since I wrote this blog post in 2010 I have been blessed with two grandsons. Mason, the oldest at 20  months, has discovered the delicious joy of watermelon. Every time I put a small plate of bite sized pieces in front of him his eyes light up, and with an excited smile he looks  at me and says, "Yummmmm."
 A few 'seeds' of information on this delicious fruit.
  • Watermelons are thought to be native of the Kalahari desert in Africa, due to David Livingstone describing them as "abundant" in that region.
  • Watermelons have been cultivated at least as early as 2000 B.C (there's evidence in the Nile Valley, as noted by Zohary and Hopf). Several watermelon seeds were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen.
  • The fruit was cultivated in Asia (China in particular) by the end of the 9th century A.D. and introduced to Europe by the Moor invasion in the 13th century.
  • There are legends about watermelons in Vietnam. According to folklore, it was discovered by Prince Mai An Tiêm, a prince of the Hung. He was exiled on an island, with the condition that if he could survive for six months, he could go back to his castle: he prayed for help, and a bird flying by dropped a watermelon seed on the ground. When the prince cultivated the seed, he called the fruit dua tây (western melon), since the bird had come from the West. The prince eventually survived and went back home. (Read a version of the story below.)
  • Watermelons were introduced to North America in 1500, and Native Americans were found cultivating them by French explorers in the Mississippi valley.
  • Other sources believe the fruit was introduced in Massachusetts in 1629.
  • Jerry Parsons, a Texas Agricultural Extension horticulturalist, states that the crop was grown by Native Americans in Florida (by 1664) and the Colorado River area (by 1799).  
The above information was found on the following websites:


The Golden Watermelon – Uzbekhttp://tinyurl.com/yc2ntkx

Never Mind Them Watermelons – Alabama, United States

Tony Beaver and the Watermelon Party – West Virginia, USA

Story-Lovers.com - As always, Jackie serves up a plate full of tales perfect for the season. Dive in!

The Story of Watermelon Island - Vietnam

Watermelon Magic - Vietnam


Summertime Watermelon Crafts and Activities

Willy Watermelon Paper Craft

Teacher's Guide - More curriculum ideas than watermelons have seeds! http://www.theteachersguide.com/booklessons/watermelonday/watermelonday.htm

Quench your summertime thirst with this delicious recipe.

Watermelon Smoothie

Health Benefits of Watermelon


Step by Step - This site not only offers songs and fingerplays but more crafts, recipes and ideas to create your own watermelon themed activities. http://stepbystepcc.com/foods/watermelon.html

Karen Chace  © 2010
This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at storybug@aol.com. Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.


Martha said...

Love the stories . . . and the watermelon-strawberry smoothie is awesome too!

Karen Chace said...

Hi Martha,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It is hot, hot, hot here today so that smoothie sounds like a great idea! :)


JJM said...

The agua fresca for me. I've made that many a time, with various fruits, and it's always refreshing. A glug or two of vodka or rum added can enhance the flavour as needed. Thanks, lovely blog post. (As ever, but this is the first time I've left a comment.)--Mario R.

Karen Chace said...

Hi Mario,

Your post made me smile. :)

The "additional ingredients" sound great! Thanks for stopping by.