After Notte Bianca in Valletta at the end of September, and Birgufest in Vittoriosa at the beginning of October, the island of Malta will be hosting yet another important cultural event, promoting the heritage and traditions of a particular locality. This is Casal Fornaro, or the Bread Festival, which will be taking place in the village of Qormi on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th October.
The village of Qormi has been known for its excellent bread and dough products since the time of the Knights of the Order of Saint John, who called Qormi “Casal Fornaro”, meaning “The Baker’s Town”. It was well praised for its oven and bakeries at the time, and is still famous for them today. It is this traditional bread-making skill which Qormi seeks to celebrate during the event “Lejl f’Casal Fornaro”, which also has the aim of promoting Qormi’s own history, identity and culture. The two-day celebration is hosted by the Kummissjoni Żagħzagħ Bastjaniżi, the Qormi Local Council, together with Maypole Bakery Ltd, and the Malta Tourism Authority. 2016 will be seeing the 15th edition of this local festival, which has been honoured with the EFFE (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) label.
During these 2 days, tourists and locals alike will have the opportunity not only to sample local products, but perhaps more importantly, to go back in time and take a look at the traditions Malta used to enjoy hundreds of years ago. Walking through a unique ambience lighted by candlelight and lampposts instead of electricity in various areas, guests will have a chance to roam the decorated streets while enjoying folk songs, street drama, and cultural entertainment. Various shelters used during World War II will be opened for visitors on this occasion, as will most local churches and chapels. There will be a number of different stages where Maltese traditional songs, including “għana”, local singers, band marches, and various performers, will be the order of the day.
Qormi, also known as “Citta Pinto”, will also be hosting a number of exhibitions during this eventful weekend – there will be a bakery exhibition, a car exhibition, as well as an exhibition of miniatures and models of Maltese medieval towers and structures within the local band club. The largest umbrella in Malta will also be on show during the event.
“Iż-Żwieg ta Bastjan u Katarin” (Bastjan and Katarin’s Wedding) will be the highlight attraction on Friday 14th, and will be taking place at 8.00pm. This live role-play of a medieval Maltese traditional wedding will feature the bridal party walking in procession beneath an ornate canopy with singers and revellers trailing behind. It is a way for those attending the Bread Festival to experience an important part of Maltese folk tradition and custom; a custom which has long since disappeared from the Maltese islands.
During the two evenings, there will be a myriad of other events as well; culinary and photographic competitions, artisan stalls, and of course food stalls and street-bars.
On Saturday 15th October, Wallace Pipes and Drums, a Maltese traditional pipe-band which performs annually as part of the Malta Military Tattoo as well as having performed in various countries around the world, like Scotland, France, Switzerland, and Wales among others, will be playing on one of the stages. Well-known local popular singer Freddie Portelli will also be performing live, as will DJ Lawrence Long, who will be playing 80s and 90s best hits in front of Pinto Band Club.
Truly a great opportunity for all the family to enjoy a cultural and rich weekend.
And entrance is free!