Żejt iż-Że­j­tun next week­end

End of Septem­ber marks the start of the olive pick­ing sea­son

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

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.

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