The olive is not only a fruit, it’s also a symbol. The Greeks crowned victorious athlets with garlands of olive trees. Roman generals who were accorded a triumph – a generals who were accorded a triumph – a procession celebrating their victory – were similarly crowned. This was later adopted by the emperors themselves. The garland was a symbol of success, but it became more than this.
Well-known Italian Renaissance artist and poets are often represented with garlands gracing their brows. The olive and olive leaves have a place in religious symbolism and religious ceremony. All faiths are familiar with the olive’s imagery.
Today we think of the olive branch as a symbol of peace. we have also discovered – rediscovered would be more accurate – the nutritional qualities of olive and olive oil. Olive oil enjoys a very important part in Mediterranean diets. It is claimed that food prepared or cooked with olive oil lowers cholesterol in the blood and helps prevent heart disease. This is one of the reasons why Mediterranean cuisine is enjoying such widespread popularity.
The olive therefore represents peace, honour, wisdom, courage and health.
Author: Miriam Borg
No of pages 241.