The Symbolic Olive
The olive tree is highly symbolic in western culture.
It is important in the Jewish and Christian Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark and the
flood. When the dove that Noah sent out to see if the world was still flooded flew back to
the ark with an olive branch in its mouth, everyone rejoiced because the flood waters had
receded and there was peace again in the world. The dove and the olive have symbolized
peace ever since. In the Quran, the olive is a “blessed tree.” Olive branches were found in
King Tut’s tomb in Egypt.
An olive branch is also on the official seal of the United States, designed by John Adams,
Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. The seal is an eagle, which holds arrows in one
talon and an olive branch in the other, signifying the power to make war or peace.