Żejtun will be marking the start of the traditional olive-picking season this weekend.

Żejt iż-Żejtun, the event celebrating the olive-picking season and olive pressing for oil, is being held tomorrow and on Sunday.

Organised by the local council, the festival includes exhibitions of traditional crafts and free tasting of bread dipped in fresh olive oil.

The activity starts with a defilé delivering the olive harvest, including the reading of the bandu and the blessing of the olives prior to pressing.

Drummers and flag bearers in mediaeval costumes, together with folk singers and dancers, will provide the traditional musical input in celebration of a bountiful harvest. An exhibition of agricultural tools, agricultural products and folk art will deck the village in traditional attire that will come alive in a celebration of colour, music, movement and food. Pride of place will, of course, be given to the olive tree. Maltese ftajjar and bread dressed in freshly pressed olive oil will be distributed for free tasting.

Olive trees and associated products will also be on sale. An audiovisual presentation will feature olive tree varieties and their proper cultivation.

Tomorrow, the crypt of the parish church of St Catherine will be open for public viewing.

On Sunday morning the parish will organise the traditional blessing of horses, cattle and pets. This will take place after the planting of trees by children.

The church belfries will also be open to the public.

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