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Aleiptes rub oil on the athlete
The olive oil is associated with a plethora of customs and traditions in Hellas from antiquity till the present day.
1. The athletes in the ancient Olympic Games rubbed their bodies with olive oil before competing in the palestra.
2. Hercules’ bat was made from a branch from a wild olive tree. When he came from up north he planted an olive tree in Olympia with the branches of which they made the olive wreaths (kotinos) which they used to crown the Olympic winners. Zeus’ gold and ivory statue was also crowned with an olive wreath (the work of Fedias, considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world).
3. Sacrifices to the gods usually took place with the offering of wine and olive oil in order to either please them or appease them.
4. The olive oil is also connected with a lot of religious rituals and ceremonies. The fact that olive oil was of utmost religious importance is proven in the book of Exodus where God tells Moses how to make an oil out of spices as well as olive oil.
5. It is said that during that the holy oil spilt on the heads of kings and priests.
6. Olive oil is also associated with events of happiness and sorrow. In two of the most important ceremonies of the Christian Orthodox faith, Baptism and Eychaileo along with the preparation of the Holy Myro, olive oil is used.
7. Even the lighting of candili (type of candle without wax where the flame of the wick is fed with olive oil) in Greek homes is a sign of prayer or remembrance.