This evening marks the holiday of ‘Ashuru Shamni, the festival of olive oil. An ancient text from the Canaanite city of Ugarit in the Late Bronze Age, about 1200 BCE (3200 years ago), details how priests made an offering of the Oil of Peace to the protective god Baʻlu Haddu (Baʻal Hadad). Let's take a look at both ancient and modern festivities at this season--including recipes!
In Ugaritic the Oil of Peace is called shamnu shalami. Priests would pray for protection of their city as they made the olive oil offering. This event took place seven days after the new moon that follows the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Our holidays begin on each holiday’s eve. Our holiday calendar is called the Shanatu Qadishtu, the "sacred year."