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[WATCH] Knights battle it out on horseback at the Malta Jousting Festival

Malta Jousting Festival and Renaissance Fair to be held at Rinella on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May

Martina Borg
22 May 2015, 4:52pm
A joust will be one of the many attractions available at Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna's Malta Jousting Festival and Renaissance Fair at Rinella this weekend •Photo by Ray Attard
A joust will be one of the many attractions available at Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna's Malta Jousting Festival and Renaissance Fair at Rinella this weekend •Photo by Ray Attard
Knights battle it out on horseback at the Malta Jousting Festival • Filming by Ray Attard
Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna (FWA) will be holding Malta’s first ever Jousting Festival and Renaissance Fair at Fort Rinella on the 23rd and 24th May. The event, organised in collaboration with Bank of Valletta, will depict the violent and warlike world typical of the 17th century Europe.

“Jousting was a popular form of entertainment whenever political and military dignitaries stopped on their way to fighting wars,” FWA chairman Mario Farrugia said at a press conference held at the Fort earlier today.

Farrugia explained that back in the day jousting was actually prohibited by the Church, for its legitimization violence and at times even murder.

“Furthermore, the sport was considered to glorify individuals, and as such it was seen to go against the Knight’s characteristics of service in humility without any attempt at personal gain or glory,” Farrugia added.

He explained that despite this fact, armour typically used for jousting had been found in the country.

“The foundation researched the topic for some two years prior to this event, and a number of traditional (and costly) suits of armour were prepared,” Farrugia said.

He explained that festivals of the kind were very popular throughout Europe and that jousting was in fact still enjoyed as a competitive sport in many countries including Italy.

“We are in fact pushing to bring jousting back to the country as a sport, and we hope that this tournament will take place on a yearly basis,” Farrugia stated, adding that there was a lot of interest on the subject locally.

The foundation showed members of the press weaponry and armour that would be used during the festival, which would also see experts demonstrate how the weaponry and armour is used, as well as re-enactors demonstrating their use in duels.

Jouster and Re-enactor Cleaven Desira demonstrated the various pieces of a suit of armour and explained that it was often very restricting to the senses of touch, sound as well as vision, and that it could even hinder breathing.

Desira said that helmets were often used to demonstrate social rank and that the design that was used in suits of armour was so innovative in the way it moved with the body, that modern day space-suits often used similar designs.

Journalists were then taken to watch a joust between a Maltese knight and a Spanish Knight, where Farrugia explained that there would be an actual competition both for jousting and for archery and other cavalry skills during the festival.

Farrugia said that the foundation always tried its best to bring history to life and demonstrate it to the public in one of its 34 locations around the island, with events being organised according to the theme of the location.

He added that the festival would also see an artisanal market of the time set up by both Maltese and foreign sellers.

BOV CEO Charles Borg expressed satisfaction and admiration for the foundation’s work and efforts in presenting history so attainably.

The Festival will run on the 23rd and 24th May between 10am and 5pm and the programme will include presentations on armour and the knights’ way of life, archery competitions, sword displays, cavalry skills and a joust.

Members of the public are invited to visit www.wirtartna.org or the foundation’s Facebook page for more information.

Martina Borg focuses on lifestyle and society issues
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