All You Need to Know About the Wise Oak Tree in Cul­ture and His­to­ry

Oak trees have been on flags, stamps, doc­u­ments, seals, and oth­er sym­bol­ic ob­jects. The wise oak tree has been a sym­bol of wis­dom and knowl­edge in­her­ent in its un­shake­able strong trunk. The pow­er to at­tract light­en­ing has ren­dered it to be cel­e­brat­ed as a sign of pow­er and strength. Oak trees have held a lot of sig­nif­i­cance in many cul­tures and so­ci­eties for thou­sands of years, and they still con­tin­ue to do so.

 

oak trees ketubah

King of the For­est

It’s abil­i­ty to stand strong against na­ture’s storms has earned it many ti­tles: King of the For­est, King of the Green­wood, and more fa­mous­ly the Mighty Oak. Per­haps for this rea­son, oak trees are the na­tion­al tree for a large num­ber of coun­tries  in­clud­ing Ser­bia, Cyprus (Gold­en Oak), Eng­land, Es­to­nia, France, Ger­many, Moldo­va, Ro­ma­nia, Jor­dan, Latvia, Lithua­nia, Poland, Wales, Gali­cia, Bul­gar­ia, and even the Unit­ed States!

Oak Trees in Celtic Leg­ends

In Celtic lore, an­cient celts be­lieved the im­pres­sive ex­panse and growth of the oak tree was a clear sign that it was hon­ored for its en­durance and “no­ble pres­ence”. They ac­tu­al­ly used oak trees to de­note a spe­cial sta­tus among the com­mu­ni­ty — the Greeks and Ro­mans al­so did this. The oak tree makes re­peat­ed ap­pear­ances in Celtic cul­tures and folk­lore.

Wor­ship of Oaks in Greek Mythol­o­gy

Any­body who’s watched Dis­ney’s Her­cules or Clash of the Ti­tans knows that Zeus was con­sid­ered the King of Gods. In his or­a­cle at Dodona, Zeus was revered in the orac­u­lar oak, and his voice would be heard in the rustling of oak leaves (usu­al­ly in­ter­pret­ed by priests), the same way it was heard in thun­der.

Some Pret­ty Old Oaks

Oak trees are known to live a very, very long time. Some pret­ty cool trees have stood the test of time:

  • The Bowthor­pe Oak over a 1000 years old from Bourne, Lin­colnshire was fea­tured in the Guin­ness World Records.
  • The Crouch Oak  lo­cat­ed in Ad­dle­stone, Sur­rey be­lieved to have orig­i­nat­ed in the 11th Cen­tu­ry, is an im­por­tant sym­bol of its town. Leg­end says that Queen Eliz­a­beth I had a pic­nic un­der­neath it.
  • The Sev­en Sis­ters Oak is the largest cer­ti­fied south­ern live oak tree. It has a trunk with a di­am­e­ter of 38 feet. It’s age? Just about 150o years old!
  • The Ma­jor Oak is lo­cat­ed in Sher­wood For­est, Eng­land. The same for­est where leg­endary Robin Hood and his mer­ry men lived.