Almond Tree Announces Spring
A harbinger of spring’s arrival at the Center are the pale pink blossoms on the almond tree. The tree crowns the highest terrace of the Archaeological Replica Garden. Revered in art, music and literature since at least biblical times, the tree represents hope and rebirth.
The Hebrew name for the tree is “shaked,” which means to awaken. Its name was given because the almond is the first tree to awake from winter (usually in February). Jeremiah 1:11-12 admonished the Israelites to wake up like a blossoming almond branch.
The Bible makes numerous references to almonds as a valuable commodity and symbol of hope. In Genesis 43:11, for example, a famine in Canaan prompts Jacob to ask his sons to go to Egypt to buy grain. He told them, “Take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man a present, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds.”
Like the olive tree, the almond tree provided life-sustaining resources for the ancients. They made a milk of almond meal and water, which was used as a beverage and an ingredient in other foods. Even flour was made with almonds.
Thanks to a kind contribution by one of our donors, we were able to plant a new almond tree in the Archaeological Replica Garden this winter. The seed (sapling) has been planted. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring and the opportunity to further visitors’ experiences with the ancient world!