Jan 282012

Nikkal was the Canaanite goddess of the orchards, fruit, and the harvest. Yarikh was the Canaanite moon god.

Nikkal (pronounced Neek-KAL) is a Canaanite goddess, more specifically from Ugarit. Her full name is Nikkal-wa-Ib (pronounced Neek-KAL-wah-Eeb), which means "Great Lady and Fruitful". She is the goddess of orchards, fruit, and the harvest.

She is the daughter of Khirkhib (pronounced Kirk-heeb), who is god of the summer. One evening after sunset, the moon god Yarikh (pronounced Yar-eek) embraced Nikkal and began romantically pursuing her. Her father tried to dissuade Yarikh by suggesting two of Baal's daughters instead. But Yarikh wanted only Nikkal. Yarikh offered a generous brideprice to Khirkhib of necklaces of lapis-lazuli, ten thousand gold pieces, and one thousand silver pieces, saying, "I shall send gems of lapis-lazuli, I shall make her fields into vineyards, and the field of her love into orchards." Khirkhib relented, and soon Nikkal and Yarikh were married. Yarikh is the provider of nightly dew, and his dew causes Nikkal's orchards to bloom in the desert.

Foods sacred to Nikkal are dates, olives, figs, apples, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds. These are the fruits and nuts that grow in her orchards.

In the 1950s, French archaeologists discovered a 3400-year-old tablet from Ugarit, which is in modern-day Syria. On the tablet is the oldest known musical score, a hymn to Nikkal. It has been dubbed the Hurrian Hymn.

The Sumerian form of this goddess is Ningal (pronounced Neen-GALL).

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