Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Wonderful Welcome: A Program for Children Grades K-1

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The Symbols of the Dove and the Olive Branch

The olive branch as a symbol of peace has roots in Hebrew scripture (Genesis) and ancient Greek mythology and tradition. In Genesis, Noah releases a dove to find land after the rains have stopped. The dove returns with an olive branch in its beak (Book of Noah, 8:11), signifying God's forgiveness or mercy toward humankind and the end of the flooding.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena gives an olive tree to the people of Athens, and they name the city for her in gratitude. An Olympic winner's olive branch crown, in tandem with the Greek's tradition of suspending war for the duration of the games, suggests a relationship between the olive tree and peace.