Mangos in Culture, Lore & Legend

mangotree

From time immemorial, the mango, known as the King of Fruits, has been an important part of Indian life.

Mangos have historically been revered as symbols of life and happiness. It is said that Buddha himself rested and meditated with his fellow monks in the peaceful tranquility of lush mango groves in places such as Amrapali and Mahachunda.

Many cases in history record the effects that mangos have had in shaping people’s beliefs, customs and ways of life.

According to the Great Chronicle of Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka converted to Buddhism after an intense and symbolic conversation over mango trees between the Island’s King Tissa and Price Mahinda. The King was so touched and convinced of the price’s knowledge that he converted to Buddhism, and consequently, the rest of the island’s population.

Mangos are mentioned in many famous epic and theological writings, including the Vedas, Hinduism’s sacred books; and also in the Ramayana, one of India’s most legendary Sanskrit poems, which tells the story of Prince Rama’s journeys in life.

In Sanskrit poetry and metaphors, mangos are also referred to as the kalpavriksha, “the wish-granting trees”, because of their taste and their symbolic meaning. Sanskrit is the classical language of ancient India.

The name mango itself comes from the Dravidian word mânkây : mân, mango tree + kây, meaning fruit. The fruit is commonly known as mango in most countries, with slight variations in Portuguese (manga) and French (mangue).