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Explore the Malta Village Feasts in All of their Glory

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#AXperience Religion in Malta by Visiting a Village Feast with all the Locals

Due to Covid-19, we regret to inform you that all traditional local feasts have been cancelled for 2020

 

The Maltese Islands are a heavily Catholic country in which religion and religious ceremonies play a great part in day-to-day life. Almost every village in Malta has a feast of its own dedicated to their specific patron saint. The Maltese love their patron saints and their village feasts. Although it is primarily a religious celebration, that doesn’t mean that it’s not fun. Wherever the Maltese can, a party is always involved!

How Many Village Feasts does Malta Have?

 

The tradition of the festa first started under the rule of the Knights of St John under Grandmaster De Rohan’s reign from 1775 to 1797. There are around 60 festas (village feasts) in Malta and 20 feasts in Gozo which make it a total of around 80 village feasts on the Maltese Islands. That’s an impressive number for such a small island in the Mediterranean Sea.

 

A number of villages in Malta also have more than one parish church which means that they have more than one village feast. Some villages also celebrate the same festa such as the popular feast of Santa Maria which is celebrated on the 15th August in seven localities in Malta.

 

With the exception of a few village feasts, most festas are held between the months of May and September. This means that if you’re visiting Malta during the summer months, you’re bound to experience one.

Malta Village Feasts

What Happens in these Malta Village Feasts?

 

The key elements of these village feasts are religious processions, band marches, community gatherings, fireworks and traditional sweets. However, over the years, the addition of fast food trucks and street parties with disco music has also been added to some popular feasts.

 

The schedule of the village feast depends on the locality. However, here’s a rough outline of what generally happens during these events.

 

Feast celebrations can start even two weeks prior to the actual day of the festa. They normally start with church activities such as band marches. The big march usually happens on the eve or two days before the feast. The Catherine wheels fireworks show usually happens on the eve or on the day of the village feast. If you’re a tourist, visiting Malta, these fireworks display are not to be missed.

 

The square and the parish church will indicate from before that a village feast is about to happen. There will be a lot of colours, religious relics, damask tapestry, festoons and pavilions to celebrate the patron saint. These adornments sometimes take a whole year to prepare since most of them are hand-made.

 

On the day of the actual feast, a march usually takes place in the morning. Feast fanatics take pleasure in drinking during this march. On the evening of the festa, the statue of the patron saint is carried out of the church for a procession. During this procession, confetti, balloons and streamers are launched from balconies and rooftops. Fireworks are also common on the day.

Malta Village Feasts

Which are the Best Feasts to Visit?

 

All village feasts are special but some are bigger than others. One of the biggest village feasts happens on the 15th of August in Mosta.

 

The village of Zurrieq also has some of the best village feasts including the Madonna tal-Karmnu feast in July and the Santa Katerina feast during the first week of September.

 

The village of Lija holds its feast during the first weekend of August and it is known for its spectacular fireworks display. The Mqabba feast on the 15th of August also provides some of the best aerial firework shows.

 

The village feast displayed in our campaign video happens on the 10th of February and it commemorates the feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck. The main celebrations happen in the capital city of Valletta. This feast is a public holiday in Malta.

 

If you happen to be in Gozo during August, the Ghajnsielem feast is not one to be missed. This feast is known as the Feast of the Sun.

Malta Village Feasts

Village Feast Food

 

The Maltese cannot organise anything without food! Without a doubt, village feast food is not to be missed. Food stalls are set up around the village centre selling food and sweets including nougat which is the traditional sweet of the festa. The local imqaret (deep-friend pastry with date filling) is also a popular choice.

 

Fast food stalls are also common during feasts as well as deep-fried doughnuts. Drinking is also common during these feasts. The legal age for drinking in Malta is 17 years of age.

 

Book your stay for the summer months and make sure you visit one of these Malta village feasts while you’re on holiday!

Malta Village Feasts

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