Christmas at the Mill

On Christmas Day, December 25th, especially in the past, when olives harvesting lasted until January or longer, olive oil mills were in the middle of oil production and often celebrated while working 24/7, uninterruptedly. Some olive oil mills still work on Christmas Day and people can still make a toast with friends, exactly the way they used to do in the past, sometimes with bruschetta seasoned with freshly-pressed oil

Maria Carla Squeo

Christmas at the Mill

In 1998, following Luigi Caricato’s recommendation, the poet Giorgio Mannacio wrote a lyric poem on olive oil mills. We have the opportunity of reading it and experience the very same feelings of the past.

This poem was published for the first time on issue 14 of the magazine “L’Aria dei Messapi”, a publishing project by the Caricato family. It was so successful that people read it aloud in several Italian olive oil mills on Christmas Day. We wish the same thing happened in all olive oil mills of the world.


You shall not disturb
in this air that trembles for the sun and the wind
the peace of gods; the centennial olive tree
does not give any shade that can appease a reckless spirit.
Its consolation lies in the secret
offering its bitter fruits to your destiny
in the darkness of millstones
in the clamour of water milling them
and dripping divine oil.
That food becomes light
at the most peaceful time
and the flame marking change
goes back to our bread on this celebration day
and the comet has reappeared in the sky.

Giorgio Mannacio

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