San Dimitri feast being celebrated with a traditional fair next Sunday
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Next Sunday, the 23rd of October, the feast of San Dimitri will be celebrated at the church dedicated to the Saint, in this picturesque area on the outskirts of Gharb.
Celebrations will include the popular annual fair, which will get underway at 11.00am with something for all the family to enjoy. The fair will come to a close at 6.00pm with a bonfire, traditionally associated with this feast
An early fifteenth century chapel was rebuilt in 1736 to create the building seen there today. The altarpiece above the stone altar shows St. Demetrius on horseback with an old woman praying and a young man in chains. This relates to one of several legends about the chapel.
As favourite of historians and poets alike the legend tells how an old woman called Natalizja Cauchi, nicknamed Zgugina, was at home one night with her son Mathew when Barbary corsairs swooped on the island, broke into Zgugina's house, knocked her down and made away with her son.
The woman then ran weeping to St. Demetrius' chapel and poured out her heart in passionate prayer, saying: "San Dimitri, bring me back my son, and I'll light your lamp with a measure of oil."
According to the legend, St. Demetrius heard her supplication. She saw him moving in the painting, from which he rode out in pursuit of the Turkish galley. He soon returned with the boy in his arms and returned to the painting, however a mark from his horse's hoof remained imprinted on the rock. The grateful Zgugina kept a lamp lit to the saint as thanks both day and night.