The symbolism of an olive branch dates back as far as the 5th Century, and over time has held significance in a multitude of cultures. This week’s top 5 introduces the various meanings behind our beloved olive trees.
Even though the origins of an olive branch as a symbol of peace lie in ancient Greek mythology, its symbol of victory was also prolific during the same period. It was Athena’s victory over Poseiden when she was awarded possession of Athens by the court of the gods & goddesses after she planted the first olive tree. Such a gift to the land was far better a gesture than that of Poseidon’s dramatic attempts.
Furthermore, as the goddess of wisdom in ancient Greek mythology, Athena’s gesture to claim and successful acquire the possession of Athens through planting the first olive tree, has since associated the olive branch with The Tree of Wisdom.
With a strong symbolism of peace in Christianity, the olive branch was noted for it’s same significance across many other cultures & religions. Our favourite peace signifier of the olive branch is that which originates from times of war. Because of it’s slow growth and not being cultivated during war time, olive trees were considered as “peace-time trees”.
In folk tradition of Greek medicine olive oil was considered to be an aphrodisiac. The new year’s olive oil harvest was gifted in the shape of bread to young couples as an antidote to sterility.
In the Old Testament a dove returns to Noah’s ark with an olive branch, as a symbol of hope to the people at the end of the great flood.
Join the conversation using #AbsaTop5