Olive harvest in Greece: History and Tradition

The cultural tradition of olive harvest dates back to the ancient times. The ancient Greeks believed that olive oil was rich in divine power. In fact, it was a precious gift from the goddess Athena to the Athenians. The myth has it that the Athenians chose goddess Athena over Poseidon because she offered them a gift that was a source of life and would provide the nation with food.

This “liquid gold” was used in cooking, consumed in raw form as salad dressing and also as a base for making perfumes due to its tendency to last longer on the skin. Reference of olive oil can be seen in great works such as Plutos by Aristophanes. Hippocrates used olive oil-based ointments to treat wounds and scars. As Elytis once said: «if you disintegrate Greece all that will be left will be an olive tree, a vineyard and a ship, which means that by using these you can rebuild it».

Most Greek families own houses in the countryside and on the islands, and many are involved in growing olive trees and producing their own family olive oil. It’s part of the Greek culture, a family tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. In the ancient times families who had more than 50 olive trees, were considered to have been financially well-off.

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