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Celebrating World Olive Tree Day

World Olive Tree Day has been celebrated since 1998, when UNESCO declared it an International Day of Importance. Every year, November 26 is a day to recognize the many facets of the olive tree’s symbolism and remind ourselves that this tree is one of the most important in human history, culture, and development.

The symbol of the olive tree speaks to many cultures around the world – standing for peace and compromise, resilience against adversity, abundance, life, and nourishment. In fact, the term “olive branch” has been used since the ancient times as a symbol of peace between warring parties.

Some olive trees are more renowned than others. Whereas the average lifespan of an olive tree is around 500 years, the UNESCO-recognized Olive Tree of Vouves in Crete is estimated to be over 3,000 years old and is said to be the oldest living tree in Europe! The Olive Tree of Vouves has been a part of our humanity through the rise and fall of various kingdoms.

Olive trees are mostly found in countries with warm climates – such as Greece, Italy or Spain – where they drink up lots of sun and can withstand warmer temperatures and the dry air. But there is evidence that these unique trees have been grown for centuries throughout other parts of Europe, North Africa and surrounding areas.

Regardless of their origin, every year, millions of olives are consumed around the world. They are an ingredient in many dishes, as well as being used for their oil—one of the most versatile and healthiest that can be consumed in a variety of dishes as well as applied in health and beauty routines.

Let’s continue to celebrate olive trees with UNESCO on November 26th every year. Let’s remember the potential that these unique trees possess, and why they have been such an important part of our lives throughout human history.