World Olive Tree Day Date in the current year: November 26, 2024

World Olive Tree Day World Olive Tree Day is observed annually on November 26. It was established by the UNESCO General Conference to highlight the cultural, economic, environmental, and social significance of the olive tree, as well as to encourage its protection.

The olive (Olea europaea) is a small evergreen tree or shrub that belongs to the family Oleaceae, which also includes ash, forsythia, jasmine and lilac, among other members. It is native to the Mediterranean Basin and is cultivated on all continents except Antarctica. There are six natural subspecies of the olive and hundreds of cultivars.

The olive is one of the oldest and most important domesticated crops. Its fruits are the source of olive oil, which is one of the key ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine. In addition, olive oil is used in the production of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, as a base for soaps, as a lubricant and solvent, and in fuels for traditional oil lamps.

About 90% of all harvested olives are used to make olive oil, while the rest are used for eating. The latter are referred to as table olives. Although olives are cultivated on all continents, as we’ve already mentioned above, the top 10 olive producing countries in the world are located in the Mediterranean region; they are Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Portugal.

The olive is more than just a crop though. Olive oil has long been considered holy and sacred in many religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is used in various religious ceremonies to this day. The olive branch has been a symbol of abundance, glory, harmony, peace, purity and wisdom since ancient times. It is depicted on the Great Seal of the United States and the Flag of the United Nations.

Given the social, cultural, economic and environmental importance of the olive tree, it is not surprising that there is a holiday dedicated to it. In 2019, UNESCO supported a proposal submitted by Lebanon and Tunisia and proclaimed World Olive Tree Day to celebrate the values embodied by the olive branch, as well as to highlight the significance of the olive tree, promote its conservation and cultivation, and reinforce environmental sustainability efforts with a special focus on the preservation of olive biodiversity.

UNESCO encourages all stakeholders to celebrate World Olive Tree Day through various events and activities such as conferences, debates, exhibitions, presentations, workshops, and cultural events. The celebration is supported by the International Olive Council and other representatives of the global olive oil industry, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders.

You can observe World Olive Tree Day, too! Join the celebration by learning more about the olive tree and its importance, visiting an olive orchard or olive oil mill (if there is one near you), buying a bottle of olive oil, a can of olives or a bar of olive soap, using olive oil in cooking, trying DIY beauty treatments with olive oil, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #WorldOliveTreeDay.

Remind me with Google Calendar


International Observances


World Olive Tree Day, international observances, UNESCO observances, olive tree, olive