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The Olive Branch: A Symbol of Peace

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


The olive branch is a symbol of peace, friendship, and victory that originated with the customs of ancient Greece. It is also found in ancient Rome and most other cultures in the modern world. In fact, in ancient Rome, the olive branch was a sign that the defeated side during a war would hold up an olive branch to indicate a surrender and a plea for peace.

After the great flood, Noah sent a dove out to see if water had receded from the earth. The dove returned with a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak as a sign that God had stopped his war on mankind, the flood was receding, and land was in sight, according to Genesis 8:10-11.

The olive branch signifies peace because olive trees are not cultivated in times of war. Therefore, they are considered peace-time trees. Today, the olive branch is used in many cultures, religions, political movements, and individuals to symbolize peace, harmony, and reconciliation.

It is not uncommon to see churches (Mt. Olive), places of businesses such as Olive Garden restaurant, and other things with the word "Olive" in their names. That is a reminder that peace is embedded in their names.

National Seal of the United States of America

National Seal of the United States of America

A dove with an olive branch is seen in art and in other places. For instance, the Great Seal of the United States shows the bald eagle, the national bird holding arrows in the left talon signifying war, and holding an olive branch in the right talon symbolizing peace.

The Great Seal that was first used in 1782 is used today to authenticate certain documents issued by the federal government of the United States. Both sides of the Great Seal have appeared on the reverse of the one-dollar bill since 1935. Therefore, if you have one-dollar bills in your wallet, you are carrying around olive branches.

Cyprus Flag

Cyprus Flag

The olive branch appears on the national flag of Cyprus as a peace symbol. The map on the flag is in the shape of the entire island. The copper-orange color of the island is a reflection of the large deposits of copper ore found there. Below the map are two green olive branches symbolizing peace for all residents.

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According to Cyprus' constitution, the flag should have a neutral design and color instead of red or blue colors like on the flags of Greece and Turkey. The Cyprus flag deliberately did not have a cross or a crescent representing any religion. As you can see from the photo above, the flag is a simple one with the olive branches clearly portrayed.

Golden Olive Branch left on moon.

Golden Olive Branch left on moon.

This photo of a golden olive branch was left on the moon by Neil Armstrong on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission as a symbol of peace. Of course, a live branch would have died if left on the moon.

The golden olive branch is an ideal gift that can be worn as a piece of jewelry

True Story

Katy Perry sent Taylor Swift an actual olive branch back in 2018. The two iconic singers and songwriters had bad blood between each other for about ten years. Their feud began after Katy poached three backup dancers from Taylor's Red tour for her own Prismatic tour.

We all know that Taylor writes and sings songs about her life. To get back at Katy, she wrote one of her biggest hits, Bad Blood. She did not call Katy's name in the song, but everyone knew she was talking about Katy. She said an unnamed pop star "tried to sabotage an entire arena tour.” There was enough in the song to convince Katy that the song was about her. Therefore, she clapped back on Twitter without naming Taylor. The two popular singers corresponded to each other through their songs instead of confronting each other in person.

After the long feud, Taylor posted on social media that Katy sent her a literal olive branch with a note that read, “Hey old friend, I’ve been doing some reflecting on past miscommunications and the hurt feelings between us.” Taylor posted on Instagram that she accepted the olive branch and thanked Katy with a note that read, “This means so much to me.”

Katy had been vocal over the years about how she wanted the misunderstandings to end. She indicated that she was willing and ready to let things go and move on. By sending the olive branch to Taylor, both of them moved on.


Whenever you see an olive branch, know that it is the symbol of peace. Do what Katy Perry did. If you have been arguing and on the outs with someone, you can make up by telling the person you are extending an olive branch to show that you want to end the disagreement and be friendly toward each other again. The olive branch can be a figurative one instead of a real one like the one Katy sent Taylor.

Hopefully, the person will know what it means and accept it as a way of making peace with you again. The act will be helpful to both of you no matter which one was in the wrong or how long there has been "bad blood" between the two of you.

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