March 28, 2023

By Ifor H Jarss….

The International Olive Festival, the oldest and most colourful festival in Cyprus, was again held in the village square of Zeytinlik from the 8th to 10th October. The festival was formally opened by the President, Mr Ersin Tatar, who reminded his audience of the importance to the country of the production of olives and their products. Stressing the need for fresh olive groves the President suggested that people should also plant olive trees in their gardens.

The festival is the 20th organised by Girne Municipality.  Mayor Nidal Gungordu was delighted to be able, once more,  to bring together all the people involved in the olive oil industry; growers, oil producers, refiners and other exploiters of the olive especially as the event last year could be held only electronically, over social media, because of the Covid epidemic. After welcoming political leaders and visitors from Turkey’s Hatay Altıözü Municipality, Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, Kuşadası Municipality, Antalya Muratpaşa Municipality, and Beylikdüzü Municipality the Mayor gave his blessing to the festival by saying that the olive tree symbolises love, peace, tolerance and longevity. He therefore wished the festival goers to be full of peace, love and longevity.

After the opening ceremony olive incense was burned which added to the special atmosphere of the occasion. As well as the many stalls set up in the Zeytinlik village square which offered olive products and Cypriot handicrafts there were many other events of an educational, cultural and fun nature spread over the three days. These all attracted large crowds throughout the 3 days of the festival who enjoyed singing and dancing to the evening music shows.

On Saturday the writers and poets Dr Sevket Oznur, Hasibe Sahoglu, Mehmet Kansu and Dr Tayfun Nesimoglu offered works and the short film “In Adulthood” in memory of Ali Nesim. A folk dance show was put on by the Girne Young Art Lovers Association. On a business level there was also a seminar on olive tree diseases and treatments presented by Dr Murat Helvaci and Mehmet Atak.  A lively Tango dance show took place between concerts by Hasan Gunyuz and Ibrahim Cetiner and by Hafiz Dolek. Altogether a packed evening of entertainment.

There were also plenty of things to enjoy on Sunday following the formal planting of olive saplings at the Zeytinlik social housing project. There were live art performances by Ece Apan, and an educational presentation of the place of olive and olive oil in our lives and its importance for our health. Another way to keep healthy was demonstrated by the folk dance show put on by the Cyprus Folk Dance and Art Centre Association and, later in the evening by a Tango Dance show by the Kyrenia Tango Argentino. More concerts were offered by the Dilara Ferit Band and “SOS”.  Amongst all these activities was the formal award ceremony for the winners of the 9th and 10th International Cartoon and Olive Humour Festival competition.

Source (Turkish) : Girne Municipality

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