Change your opinions, keep to your principles;
change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
In the early historical period, however, there is considerable evidence that trees held a special significance in the cultures of the ancient world. In Ancient Egypt, several types of trees appear in Egyptian mythology and art.
Egypt, before the dawn of history was teeming with trees. Of these trees are the petrified forests that are near the Giza pyramids and beside El Mokattam plateau. Egyptian Pharaohs planted trees and took care of them. They brought ebony wood from the Sudan, pine and cedar from Syria. Egyptian Pharaohs planted sant trees, sycamore, lotus fruits and willow.
At the time of the Crusades, Egypt had paid more attention to cultivating wood trees, to build marine fleet. There were 20,000 feddans of trees cultivated on both sides of Nile from Gerga to Aswan.
At present there is great attention paid to cultivating trees on the farms' borders, road sides, canals, drainage, around villages, on the sandy hills near the Mediterranean shores, especially the multi-purposes trees, such as sycamore, mulberry, lotus among others.
These trees give fruits and are wind shields; providing shade, air purification, producing wood for the purposes of carpentry, fuel and making coal.
In the desert environments of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mesopotamia trees, and especially fruit trees, assumed a special importance. The head dress worn by one of the women buried in the tomb of Queen Pu'abi at the Sumerian site of Ur (c. 2500 BCE) includes in the elaborate decoration clusters of gold pomegranates, three fruits hanging together shielded by their leaves, together with the branches of some other tree with golden stems and fruit or pods of gold and carnelian.
In Egypt, the evergreen date palm was a sacred tree, and a palm branch was the symbol of the god Heh, the personification of eternity. For later cultures, the palm branch also served as an emblem of fecundity and victory. For Christians, the palm branch is a symbol of Christ's victory over death. It also signified immortality and divine blessings and is often seen as an attribute of Christian martyrs. It also denotes particular Christian saints such Paul the Hermit and Christopher, as well as the Archangel Michael. The palm tree is also a symbol of the garden of paradise.
Trees also figure prominently in the culture and mythology of Ancient Greece.
The oak tree was sacred to Zeus, especially the tree at the sanctuary of Zeus in Dodona which also served as an oracle; it would seem the rustling of the leaves was regarded as the voice of Zeus and the sounds interpreted by priestesses.
In several Greek myths, women and men are frequently transformed into trees: Atys into a pine tree, Smilax into a yew, and Daphne into the laurel, which was sacred to Apollo.
In numerous cases the spirit of trees is personified, usually in female form.
In Ancient Rome, a fig-tree sacred to Romulus grew near the Forum, and a sacred cornel-tree grew of the slope of the Palatine Hill. Sacred groves were also found in the city of Rome.
Perhaps not surprisingly, trees appear at the foundations of many of the world's religions. Because of their relative rarity in the Near East, trees are regarded in the Bible as something almost sacred and are used to symbolize longevity, strength, and pride. Elements of pagan tree cults and worship have survived into Judeo-Christian theology. In Genesis, two trees -- the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil -- grow at the centre of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). Scriptural and apocryphal traditions regarding the Tree of Life later merge in Christianity with the cult of the cross to produce the Tree of the Cross. The fantastic Story of the True Cross identifies the wood used for the cross in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as being ultimately from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Other stories claim that Adam was buried at Jerusalem and three trees grew out of his mouth to mark the centre of the earth.
In Ancient Assyria, trees, fruit trees especially, were associated with fertility. The significance of trees in Ancient Assyria is shown in the numerous reliefs of winged deities watering or protecting sacred trees..
Some trees become sacred through what may have occurred in their proximity. It was under a pipal tree that Siddhartha Gautama (born 566 BCE) meditated until he attained enlightenment (Nirvana) and became the Buddha. The Bodhi or Bo (Enlightenment) tree is now the centre of a major Buddhist sacred shrine.
For the ancient Celts, the Yew tree was a symbol of immortality, and holy trees elsewhere functioned as symbols of renewal
A tree scarred by lightning was identified as a tree of life, and, according to Pliny the Celtic Druids believed that mistletoe grew in places which had been struck by lightning. The Druids performed rituals and ceremonies in groves of sacred oak trees, and believed that the interior of the oak was the abode of the dead.
In India, it is believed that the Brahma Daitya, the ghosts of brahmans, live in the fig trees, the pipal (ficus religiosa), or the banyan (ficus indica), awaiting liberation or reincarnarnation. Among the eight or so species of tree considered sacred in India, these two varieties of fig are the most highly venerated.
The identification of sacred trees as symbols of renewal is widespread. In China, the Tree of Life, the Kien-Luen, grows on the slopes of Kuen-Luen, while the Moslem Lote tree marks the boundary between the human and the divine. From the four boughs of the Buddhist Tree of Wisdom flow the rivers of life. The great ash tree Yggdrasil of Nordic myth connects with its roots and boughs the underworld and heaven.
In Japan, trees such as the cryptomeria are venerated at Shinto shrines. Especially sacred is the sakaki, a branch from which stuck upright in the ground is represented by the shin-no-mihashira, or sacred central post.
Sacred forests still exist in India and in Bali, Indonesia. The holy forests in Bali are annexed to temples that may or may not be enclosed in it, such as the Holy Forest at Sangeh. The general feeling of respect and veneration for trees in India has produced a great variety of tree myths and traditions.
Nobody is sure exactly why, but at some point our ancestors decided to stop hugging and swinging around in trees and go it on foot.
Nowdays people know about the importance that trees have in the environment. In Italy there is a national day dedicated to trees and is in november the 21st.
If this is not enough, here some reasons wht trees are so important: Trees Produce Oxygen, Clean the Soil, Control Noise Pollution, Slow Storm Water Runoff, Trees Are Carbon Sinks, Clean the Air, Trees Fight Soil Erosion.
A special mention goes to the olive tree:
The olive tree was native to Asia Minor and spread from Iran, Syria and Palestine to the rest of the Mediterranean basin 6,000 years ago. It is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world - being grown before the written language was invented. It was being grown on Crete by 3,000 BC and may have been the source of the wealth of the Minoan kingdom. The Phoenicians spread the olive to the Mediterranean shores of Africa and Southern Europe. Olives have been found in Egyptian tombs from 2,000 years BC. The olive culture was spread to the early Greeks then Romans. As the Romans extended their domain they brought the olive with them.
1,400 years ago the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, advised his followers to apply olive oil to their bodies, and himself used oil on his head. The use of oil is found in many religions and cultures. It has been used during special ceremonies as well as a general health measure. During baptism in the Christian church, holy oil, which is often olive oil, may be used for anointment. At the Christmas mass, olive oil blessed by the bishop, "chrism", is used in the ceremony. Olive oil was used to anoint the early kings of the Greeks and Jews. The Greeks anointed winning athletes. Olive oil has also been used to anoint the dead in many cultures.
The olive trees on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem are reputed to be over 2000 years old, still relative newcomers considering the long domestication of the olive. We don't know the exact variety of the trees on the Mount. Man has manipulated the olive tree for so many thousands of years that it is unclear what varieties came from which other varieties.