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 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
IN THE KITCHEN
Quench your summertime thirst with this delicious recipe.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
SONGS AND FINGERPLAYS
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 email@example.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.