Alongside light produced by fireplaces, torches and spermaceti (cloth dipped in animal fat wrapped around a stick), oil lamps for centuries provided the light necessary for those working at night, the oil lamp having one or more wicks.
Oil is still used to light the cresset in front of the icons. The same light was used in the past to illuminate rooms. The cresset oil is considered sacred and it should be pure. A family always deemed it necessary to use some of its oil to light the cressets.
Everything involved in the olive production process was of use in a traditional society. The by-product from oil production, the olive seed, was used in the past as food for domestic animals, as fertilizer and as fuel. Since 1950, the seed has been almost exclusively exploited for the production of seed-oil and fuel made from crushed and compressed olive pips. Along with the products of the olive seed, an important soap industry developed, making use of oil and oil dregs.
•Hellenic Folklore Research Center (Academy Of Athens)ODE TO THE OLIVE TREEISBN: 960-404-054-5