Olive farming
Olive cultivation has been the main peasant farming activity on Crete throughout history, despite occasional lapses during rebellions.

The olive is both the staple food of peasant family life and an important source of income. Furthermore, it takes pride of place in religious ceremonies, following the cycle of human life from birth to death. Babies are anointed with oil at baptism, giving rise to the wish that "Whoever puts on the vine should also put on the oil", i.e. that the best man (or woman) who puts the wedding wreaths on the couple at their wedding should gain the privilege of baptising their first child.

Olive harvest
Old olive press (The Menelaos Parlamas Museum of Agriculture, Hersonissos)
Fresco showing an olive branch, 1700 (Heraklion Archaeological Museum)
Olive harvest in the early 20th century
Olives and olive oil, the two main sources of income for Cretan farmers
Traditional olive press in operation (Historical Museum of Crete, © S.C.H.S, Heraklion)