Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government and Communities Silvio Parnis launched the 13th edition of Zejt iz-Zejtun.

Festivities like Zejt iz-Zejtun are essential to uphold our traditions and customs, and this annual celebration has increased in popularity and is sought after by various members of the public. Such initiatives offer a great opportunity to make our cultural heritage more accessible, especially since the latter forms an intrinsic part of our identity. As a Government we are committed to further invest in this sector, in order to make it more accessible and sustainable, stated Minister Owen Bonnici during the launch.

The Zejt iz-Zejtun festival celebrates the start of the olive-picking season, and honours a revived rural heritage closely associated with this part of Malta. Each year, an olive-carrying parade is held from St Angelo Road to the Church’s square. The crowd then gathers on the church’s parvis for the pressing and blessing of the olives. Activities during the night include ghana, singing, and dancing in various parts of Zejtun.

The local Beland Band and Zejtun Band will also be participating, and the evening will also include light shows and artistic exhibitions.

This year’s edition will have an international festival of folk dancing, where 12 foreign companies will be taking part, and the parish church’s museum will be open. A Maltese version of the Commedia del Arte will be held outside Tas-Salvatur Chapel. Both band clubs will be open, and an organ recital by organist Joe Caruana will take place in the parish church. Renowned traditional singers will be animating the audience, whilst folk will be at the open space in front of St Mary’s Chapel.

Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government and Communities Silvio Parnis said that this activity is one of the several activities organised by local councils which are being subsidized under the Cultural Activities Scheme for this year. Through this initiative, which is financed by the Local Government Division and the Malta Tourism Authority, a fund of Euros 8,000 was allocated for the Zejt iz-Zejtun activity this year. He also said that this activity will continue to help promoting this town and its cultural aspect, both among the Maltese and tourists. Parliamentary Secretary Parnis concluded by saying that he is very satisfied that this local council is contributing to preserving traditions and awareness about what is typical in Zejtun.

Zejt iz-Zejtun will be held on the 28th of September, starting from 19:30. The festivities continue on the 29th of September, including the traditional blessing of animals. The Sunday morning programme also includes a parade of carts, karozzini, serkini and horses, which will depart from Madonna tal-Hniena Square to San Girgor Square, where the blessing takes place. Traditional children’s games, dances, arts, handicrafts, and a musical programme by the Beland Band and Zejtun Band will follow.

This festival is supported by the Local Government Division, which falls within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government.

Source: Government of Malta