Żejt iż-Żejtun next weekend
End of September marks the start of the olive picking season
Żejtun is preparing to celebrate the start of the olive-picking season. Since the place name ‘Żejtun’ means ‘olive’ and is invariably associated with olive tree cultivation in all Semitic/Arab speaking cultures, it was only natural for the Żejtun Local Council to commemorate the olive-pressing season.
Organised during the last weekend of this month it will be held on the evening of Saturday 23 and on Sunday 24 till 12pm.
The focal point of the festival is the blessing of freshly picked olives on the parvis of the parish church and the pressing of the olives followed by free tastes Maltese ftajjar dressed in freshly-pressed virgin olive oil.
All this takes place amid Maltese folk music singing and dancing accompanying a defile of village folk and farmers on carts carrying the olive harvest. Drummers and flag bearers provide a colourful background for several re-enactments which stretch from the centre of Żejtun to the precincts of the old medieval parish church, which will be open for the public as well as folk, singing and dancing in the open space of the chapel of St. Mary in the upper village and the chapel of Tas-Salvatur in the lower village which will host performances of Maltese-style Commedia dell’Arte.
Indeed, Żejt iż-Żejtun celebrates in style the revival of a rural industrial activity highly prevalent in Malta during Punic/Roman times, long neglected and almost totally forgotten. Since the late seventies the new interest generated by a fresh reappraisal of pure olive oil as an intrinsic element of the typically Mediterranean diet conductive to a healthy life style, has resulted in great impetus for olive tree cultivation on a large scale and the production of olive oil.
Żejtun is proud to be a protagonist in celebrating this revived heritage. The two civic bands of Żejtun will participate and all churches, clubs and places of interest will be open for visitors. During the evening organist Joseph Caruana will give an organ recital on the grand organ of the parish church.
All this makes a visit to Żejtun during the evening of Saturday, 23 September not only pleasant but also entirely worthwhile. On Sunday morning the festival will continue with several folk activities, band music a defile of horses for the animal blessing and, of course, olive pressing.
A park and ride service will be available on Saturday from 7pm till midnight from Bulebel Industrial Estate near Inspire. Ample parking space will be provided in Żejtun itself.