The term “to extend an olive（橄榄） branch” means to make an offer of peace or reconciliation(和好). This term has Biblical（圣经的）origins, coming from the section of the Old Testament that deals with the flood; the sign that the flood is over is an olive branch brought back to the ark(方舟) by a dove. Olive branches were also symbols of peace in Ancient Greece and Rome, and they continue to be used in various works of art that are meant to suggest peace.
Some people have suggested that the olive was a very deliberate and well-considered choice as a metaphor(比喻）for peace, because olive trees famously take years to mature. War is typically very hard on the trees because people cannot take the time to nurture them and plant new ones. Therefore, the offer of an olive branch would suggest that someone is tired of war, whether it is an actual war or a falling out between friends.
In Ancient Greek and Roman times, people would offer actual olive branches. In Rome, for example, defeated armies traditionally carried olive branches to indicate that they were giving in, and the Greeks used them into weddings and other ceremonies. In the modern era, the branch is usually metaphorical, rather than actual, not least because the plants can be a bit difficult to obtain.
Many people agree that peace negotiations at all levels of society are a good idea. Between nations, obviously, it is important to extend an olive branch to ensure mutual safety and to help the world run more smoothly. This act can also be important on a personal level, as resolving conflict and learning to get along with others is viewed as an important life skill in many cultures.
At some point in their lives, many people will be advised to extend an olive branch to settle a dispute or resolve an issue. Some people believe that it takes an immense amount of courage to take this action, as it often comes with an admission of wrongdoing and regret.
People around the world are superstitious about numbers; even those ancient Greeks believed that all numbers and their multiples had some mystical significance.
Those numbers between 1 and 13 were in particular to have a powerful influence over the affairs of men.
For example, it is commonly said that luck, good or bad, comes in threes; if an accident happens, two more of the same kind may be expected soon afterwards. The arrival of a letter will be followed by two others within a certain period.
Another belief involving the number three has it that it is unlucky to light three cigarettes from the one match. If this happens, the bad luck that goes with the deed falls upon the person whose cigarette was the last to be lit. The ill-men linked to the lighting of three things from one match or candle goes back to at least the 17th century and probably earlier. It was believed that three candles alight at the same time would be sure to bring bad luck; one, two, or four, were permissible, but never just three.
Seven was another significant number, usually regarded as a bringer of good luck. The ancient astrologers believed that the universe was governed by seven planets; students of Shakespeare will recall that the life of man was divided into seven ages. Seven horseshoes nailed to a house will protect it from all evil.
Nine is usually thought of as a lucky number because it is the product of three times three. It was much used by the Anglo Saxons in their charms for healing.
Another belief was that great changes occurred every 7th and 9th of a man's life. Consequently, the age of 63 (the product of nine and seven) was thought to be a very perilous time for him. If he survived his 63rd year he might hope to live to a ripe old age.
Thirteen, as we well know, is regarded with great awe and fear. The common belief is that this derives from the fact that there were 13 people at Christ's Last Supper. This being the eve of his betrayal, it is not difficult to understand the significance given to the number by the early Christians.
In more modern times 13 is an especially unlucky number of a dinner party, for example. Hotels will avoid numbering a floor the 13th; the progression is from 12 to 14, and no room is given the number 13. Many home owners will use 12 1/2 instead of 13 as their house number.
Yet oddly enough, to be born on the 13th of the month is not regarded with any fear at all, which just shows how irrational we are in our superstitious beliefs.
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