Olive oil in religious use
Portugal is located in the south western part of the European continent with the presence of Spain on the north and east and the opulent Atlantic Ocean in the south and west. Olive oil in Portugal is grown in various parts ranging over a total area of about 5,000 square km and the Mediterranean type climate is conducive to its growth. Olive oil is extracted from the fruits of the olive plant. Among the different kinds of vegetable oils available, olive oil is considered to be one of the most beneficial because of the plethora of advantages that it provides. The high proportions of polyphenols and monounsaturated fats like oleic acid are significant to act as protection against heart diseases and lowering cholesterol. It is also used as an ingredient in cooking, in cosmetics and soaps and as fuels for lighting oil lamps. Apart from these, olive oil also has an important function as a significant constituent in various religious rituals and ceremonies.
The predominant religion in Portugal is the Roman Catholics. Olive oil has been used extensively for religious purposes since ancient times and are very important ingredients in various religious rituals. In the catholic churches of Portugal, olive oil is used to provide blessings and strength to those who are gearing up for baptism and this is known as the Oil of Catechumens. Olive oil is also used for providing relief to the sick and this is called the Oil of the Sick. Mixed with another ingredient, the balsam, olive oil performs multitudes of functions. It is used by the bishops during Confirmation, during sanctification, baptism and are also used to smear the kings at the time of the coronation to the thrones. Olive oils are also used as fuels to light the oil lamps in the churches.