In Palestine, the month of October means olive picking time!
BY ASMAA ELKHALDI
The cedar tree is the symbol of Lebanon, the palm tree for Saudi Arabia, and the olive tree is undoubtedly the definition of Palestine! The olive tree is special for any Palestinian – its deep rooted branches tell the story of Palestine. It stands still as a witness of all occasions and eras that have passed on this holy land.
And currently we’re in the month of October – which is the perfect time to go pick olives!
Olive harvesting has always been a social event for Palestinians. People will go help their friends and neighbours, sing traditional songs, and remember their ancestors whose lives were spent under these olive trees’ shades, leaving them as a legacy for the younger generation.
Women, youngsters, kids all hand pick as many olives as they can, which will then be pickled or readied to be pressed and made into one of the best olive oils in the world.
In the West Bank and Gaza, there are about 9 million olive trees, planted on around 45% of the agricultural land. Gaza produces different varieties of olives – such as the Surri, Chemlali and K18. Nothing in the world beats a breakfast crowned by Palestinian olives and Palestinian Za’tar (thyme) immersed in the Palestinian olive oil.
For us, the olive tree is more than just a tree. It shares all what Palestinians pass through and this is the reason beyond our eternal connection with it. It’s a shared symbol of what Palestinians endure.