It is mango season here in Southwest Florida and throughout the tropics. A time for gluttony and hoarding. A time for cheesecake and chutney, for smoothies and salsa.
My friend David is out picking mangoes, but it is not easy this year. Many trees did not set fruit because of the record cold winter and the fruit are ripening later. It seems that everyone is in the hunt for the succulent golden fleshed mango and no one wants to share!
The mango is known as the ‘king of fruit’ throughout the tropics. The tree originated in India around the fifth century B.C.. There are more than 1000 varieties cultivated today. The mango tree plays a sacred role in India; it is a symbol of love and some believe that the tree can grant wishes. In the Hindu culture hanging fresh mango leaves outside the front door during the Hindu New Year celebration.
The fruit is such an important part of many cultures that it is often mentioned in literature and song. The mango is given deity like attributes in Sandskirt literature some 4000 years ago and is written and sung about today. From popular Trinidadian singer/songwriter’s tune “Song for a Lonely Soul:”
“A mind excursion it can take me/ To a far off country road / Sticky mango juice running down my naked chest.”