April 2, 2009

Olive Oil & Olives Festival the Greek way

You don't have to leave the country to experience a foreign culture, or do you?

From Jazz Festival in Montréal, Festival de Cannes in France, Afghanistan: Hidden Treasure Exhibition in DC, to Olive Oil & Olives Festival in Athens, you can always travel not only through foreign cultures without leaving your hometown, but you can also pin in an event to visit while you are traveling overseas. See the next postings to learn about all of them.

(Thrasybulus, Greece)

Athens might not be the first place you’d think of that would hold Olive Oil & Olives Festival. Italy would have come first, as the mass media widespread propaganda and abundance of Olive Oil originated in Italy is available in American stores. Olive oil from Greece is rarer to come across, but it was ancient Greece that started to use olive oil in more than just cooking. Olive oil based facials and spa treatments might be the “invention” of Greek gods and goddesses, as well as olive oil used in medicine. Olive oil was as valuable as gold, it was even called “liquid gold” by Greeks, and was as costly as gold. This explains why only the privileged and rich Greeks could afford to use olive oil in other areas of life, besides cooking. It’s believed that in ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their body, and royal families used olive oil in burials, seeping drops of oil into the tombs of dead saints, martyrs and royal family members.

Moreover, olive oil was also a major fascination among all classes in Greece, being considered a sign for great wealth and power as it came from olive trees believed to be symbols of abundance, glory and peace. This also explains why most war heroes, athletes and royals were pictured wearing olive crowns or being wrapped in olive branches – emblems of benediction and purification. Even the Athens 2004 Authentic Olympic Games carries the symbol of the Olive Crown.

(Chris Hoy, Athens 2004)

Although the earliest found remains of the olive tree’s ancestor were in Italy, dating from 20 million years go, it was not until 1,400 B.C. that olive cultivation was known and spread from Crete to Syria, Palestine and Israel and Mycenae, Greece – was the first country to heavily cultivate it. It was then reached to and followed by Southern Italy, Northern Africa and Southern France. And that’s why Athens, the birth place of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and the heritage “holders” of the classical era, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, such as Acropolis and Herodes Atticus Theatre, is a very appropriate place for the Olive Oil & Olives Festival.

Perhaps the widely spread olive cultivation in Greece is also due to its typical Mediterranean climate and the rocky Greek peculiarity of the countryside that enables olive culture to grow and prosper.

Athens, Greece
April 10-12, 2009

The largest exhibition in Greece of Olive Oil and Olives is organized for the third time at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro. The festival is now the main meeting point for all those who are involved in Greek olive cultivation. Moreover, it offers consumers the opportunity to get acquainted with the excellent quality of Greek olive products. The exhibition will be visited by ambassadors and trade attendants from around the world, including suppliers, customers and general public.
And please visit my slideshow on Greece on the right hand side of the blog, called "ELLADA - The Land of Greek Gods."

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