Olive Oil in Greek Folk Culture
In Greek popular culture, olive oil is no less significant. For one, so deeply rooted is olive oil in the Greek psyche, which we don't even bother qualifying it -Greeks use the generic "oil" to refer to olive oil, the way some Asian cultures use the word for rice to refer generically to food.
"To oil one's intestines" in Greek means simply to eat something nourishing. We even think olive oil endows men with extra virility -an old folk saying goes "eat oil and come over tonight".
The easiest way to emphasize the importance of olive oil to the Greeks is simply to look at the country as a whole, geographically. Greece is a small country carved up by impenetrable mountains and separated regionally by the sea. Greece is a country of islands and mountains with very little farmland. The olive tree flourishes, though, almost everywhere, with the exception of the highest mountain altitudes. Some parts of the country, indeed, are almost entirely an olive grove. The Peloponnese and Crete are the two main areas of production, for both table olives and olive oil, but in islands such as Lesvos, Corfu and elsewhere, as well as on the mainland around Delphi, the olive tree finds a comfortable home and thrives.
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Greek Olive Oil Soap
Natural Greek Olive Oil Soap is known to moisturize and soften your skin without exposing it to the chemical additives typically present in regular soap. Produced in Greece for centuries, it is recommended for sensitive skin.
A Word on Olive Varieties
There are dozens of olive varieties in Greece, and by and large oil olives are different varieties than the ones cultivated to be cured as table olives. Oil olives tend to be smaller. Generally, they are harvested from the end of October, in some places through February, depending on the part of the country.
Olive Oil in Greek Orthodoxy
Olive oil is used symbolically in the rituals of the Greek Orthodox Church. For example, when babies are baptised they are anointed with olive oil
The Olive Tree in Antiquity
The olive remained a staple in Greece throughout antiquity, and many images of the olive harvest are depicted in the art of Classical antiquity. Olive oil had many uses in antiquity.
The earliest evidence of the Olive Tree
As far back as the Minoan civilization, which flourished in Crete and in the Aegean some 5,000 years ago, when the earliest written languages came into existence, there were already symbols for the olive tree, for olives and for olive oil.
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