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Collecting Olive in Kabylia

Most of the kabylian families start picking olives on November. It is an activity in which the families of the region have remained loyal. It has become a true tradition and an ancestral heritage, whatever the environment or the standard of living of the families.

    This year, the harvest is fruitful unlike the last season ,thus, kabyle students, high school students and pupils go with their families in weekend days to collect olives. Some families even come from other states (wilayas), to the land of their ancestors to ensure collection. It is highly important to mention that the gathering of olives represents an art in Kabylia from storage to extraction in order to obtain an oil of  a good quality.

 Both men and women take care of the olive tree despite cold, rain and even snow until it produce fruits. In the harvest season, they walk together in groups carrying baskets of reed or wicker in hand and field materials .In the past, women used to wear the traditional kabyle outfit and sing the kabyle chants during collecting olives ,however, this tradition has no existence anymore nowadays. An entire family is sometimes gathered around the same tree, to collect its fruits. Men, usually, climb bravely on the trees to shake its branches which are loaded with fruits to make them fall in the ground, while the others take their baskets to gather the fruits that have fallen in the ground. When the ground is covered, all the family members cooperate to glean the olives and collect them in sacks. The day of work is inevitably marked by a snack under the trees and a short break, at midday. In the evening, they return on their way home, loaded with baskets, buckets or sacks full of olives. After that,they take it to oil crusher (Thassirth Ouzemour) to squeeze it to obtain oil . Thousands of bags are packed in all the oil factories of Kabylia.You have to wait for weeks to get your oil. There’s traditional and electric oil crusher but the oil of the traditional one is tastier than the electric one

     In the ancient times, the kabyles used to produce homemade oil; women crashed the drupe with the feet .In fact, the oil that is extracted from such operation has therapeutic virtues that are unequaled.

      Olive has a great positive impact on health and is also considered as a perfect medicament that can cure a great deal of diseases. It is also can be used as a home remedy for skincare (burns).It is used in cooking by many kabyle families such as couscous ,pasta ,bread ,etc.

    Since olive oil has great benefits, it is mentioned in the Quranic verse; Allah said:
"God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp: the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! God guides to His Light whom He wills. And God sets forth parables for mankind, and God is All-Knower of everything." Surat An-Noor (The Light), (Verse 35).
In another verse, Allah swear on the olive tree "By the fig and the olive ". Surat El Teen(The Fig),(verse 1).

written by ARAB Sabrina


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