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Messinian Olive Oil Culture

The culture of Messinian olive oil

The olive and the oil appear steadily and over time in all aspects of Greek life, individual and collective: religion, art, social and political events, sports and of course, gastronomy.


Whatever field of Greek everyday life one examines and at any time, one will encounter the exuberant presence of the olive tree and its fruit.

Thus, from the golden leaves in the shape of an olive found buried in a Minoan tomb and the laboratories for the preparation of aromatic oil found in the wider area of ​​the palaces of the king of Pylos Nestoras, we reach the orthodox candle with the oil that burns to this day in every Greek house. Christ prays on the Mount of Olives and the Orthodox religion closely connects two of its seven sacraments with oil, Baptism and Eucharist, while it also prepares the Holy Myrrh with oil.

"I am the honored olive tree" writes characteristically K. Palamas: Greek literature from Homer to Elytis and Ritsos was constantly inspired by the olive tree while the art of painting depicted the tree, the fruit and its cultivation in various ways from the ancient frescoes to modern paintings.

But the olive is not absent from the sports activities either: the naked bodies of the ancient athletes are smeared with oil, the winners of the Olympic Games are crowned with the famous Kotino, the winners in Panathinaia received amphorae with something ... more than oil as a prize of the year and the 2004 Olympics were symbolized by an olive wreath.

Finally, the Greek used in his daily life the oil as a therapeutic, cosmetic, lighting medium - do not forget that the lamp is the ancestor of today's light bulb - and, of course, as the dominant food product on his table.

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