The olive tree has been important in the lives of many since ancient times. The Aramites called it the blessed tree. The Canaanites, and others who lived in the Holy Land planted Olive Trees. Olive oil was used for cooking, for light in their lamps and for anointing the sick and the royal. Olive trees must be at least 150 years old before their wood can be cultivated. Some olive trees in the Holy Land are more than 1500 years old. These Holy Land gifts are made from the prunings or discarded parts of olive trees or from the sprouts from old unproductive trees.
Olive wood carving is an ancient tradition in the Bethlehem area. The tradition began in the 4th Century during the Byzantine rule and continues today. The tradition has been passed down through generations in families. Some are descendants of the original local carvers.