Mgarr Malta: Hidmet Missirijietna – (Trades of Our Fathers)- Agricultural & Crafts Festival




Trades of Our Fathers 2012 – Friday 6th July 2012 from 5:30pm

The first edition of ‘Trades of Our Fathers’ (Hidmet Missirijietna), a traditional agriculture and rural crafts festival, was held in Mgarr, Malta, right in the wide expanse of wheat fields and meadows of the Bingemma Valley.

Mgarr farmers contributed the variety of animals, including heavy horses, donkeys, piglets, lambs, poultry birds and more. Besides the children’s petting zoo, many animals were used for re-enactments and demonstrations. The traditional harvesting, winnowing and threshing of wheat (qiegha) was also performed repeatedly throughout the event. Several craftsmen showed off their skill in purpose built stalls, which featured wicker baskets, sheep wool looms, fishing net weaving and more. The event was closed off with a large BBQ dinner based on skewered pig prepared with a traditional rural recipe. All with the unique scenery of Mgarr acting as a backdrop.

The Festival is the brainchild of a young Mgarr farmer, barely out of his teens, who has the Maltese agricultural traditions and heritage at heart. He spearheaded the effort to kickstart this event and rallied the Mgarr Youth Drama Company (MYDC – which he heads), the Mgarr Youth Committee as well as the local council to volunteer to put up this unique event.

Being the first edition, attendance was not only very encouraging, but exceeded all expectations. The public flocked to Mgarr, not merely viewing but also participating in the re-enactments; trying their hand at threshing and winnowing wheat, ploughing fields and milking cows together with the participating farmers and actors. Indeed, several visitors also generously offered to lend their own farm animals and antique tools for next years’ edition.

Just as Lejla Mgarrija (the Mgarr village festival, fast approaching it’s 30th edition) started off the village festivals in Malta, and just as Festa Frawli spawned the numerous village exhibitions which fill the Maltese calendar, so it seems that ‘Trades of our Fathers’ will spin off similar events.

Of course, this is all thanks to the selfless efforts of the many volunteers who worked night and day to organize this festival. Without their dedication these free events, open to all,and to be enjoyed equally by the Maltese public and tourists would simply not be possible.

For the technically minded, the video was shot with a nice little Sony XR520E camcorder (with a Sony HC3E acting as a stationary ‘B’ cam) and edited with Sony Vegas Movie Studio, and colour graded using the free AAV plugin.

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