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Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the Heart of Canaan

2 November, 20122 November, 2012 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Olive Harvest Season


Olive trees are considered a very significant part of the Palestinian tradition, as they have always been both an essential element of Palestinian livelihood and a symbolic sign of harmony and welfare.

For the Palestinian farmers, the months of October and November mark the olive harvest season, which is the time of family gatherings and joyful festivals.

It is preferable to pick up the olives manually, which means a lot of hard work taking also a lot of time. To ease the labour, farmers sing various lively folk songs and listen to the stories of the elders.

Olives Holy Land Travelujah

Every Palestinian is a part of an ancient line of farmers. Even if many of them have professional jobs, their lives in the fall season focuses on ripe olives. Most of the modern families have couple of olive trees in their gardens, so every year they can enjoy their own freshly pressed olive oil, which is an indispensable element of the Palestinian cuisine.

After Picking Comes Time for Pickling

The pickling is also a time-consuming process. First a person needs to sort through the olives for the green, bigger and unblemished ones and later make two or three snicks in every single olive.

Next, the olives need to be soaked in water overnight, which washes them and removes the bitter liquids. The next day, the water needs to be replaced and salt, lemon juice and lemon slices should be added. This mixture is ready to be put in jars. However, a person needs to wait couple of months for the olives to be ready to be eaten.

Olive Harvest Festivals

Olives Holy Land Travelujah

7th Jaru’a Festival

The Jaru’a Festval of Canaan Fair Trade is traditional feast solemnized at the end of the harvest, during which everyone can be grateful for another year of plentiful crops. Farmers, women producers, fair trade distributors, and international visitors gather together to celebrate the fruit of the season. This year, the festival is going to last three days from 2nd till 4th of November 2012. For more information about Canaan’s Jaru’a check here.

12th Bethlehem Olive Harvest Festival

Celebrate the olive harvest in the birth town of Jesus Christ! Bethlehem Olive Harvest Festival is held annually in the heart of the town, just next to the Basilica of the Nativity. The Festival is famous for its open-air market which features plenty of olives, olive oil, olive trees, olive wood, olive oil soap, traditional food, embroidery, and Palestinian folkloric shows. This year, 2012 the event will take place on the 3rd of November from 10 am till 7 pm.

Olive Oil Press Museum in Bethlehem

Al-Bad Olive Press Museum Bethlehem Travelujah

During your visit in Bethlehem, at any time of the year, check Al-Bad Museum, which features an old traditional olive press. There you can learn about the process of olive oil making and its use. The museum is situated in the heart of Bethlehem’s Old Town, just next to the vegetable market. It is open every day except Fridays and Sundays from 10 am till 3 pm. No entrance fee.

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Beata Andonia works for the Bethlehem tourist bureau and blogs regularly about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.



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Bethlehem is my new home since September 2010. This charming town in the Holy Land is definitely worth a visit! Discover Bethlehem with my blog :-) Other places are coming soon...


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