Fireworks, petards, candyfloss, music, dancing, and band rivalry. You guessed it – it’s festa time, one of Malta and Gozo’s most-loved traditions. They are filled with folklore, food, and, in some cases, national holidays. If you’re a fan of these religious celebrations and the folk they bring with them, here are some you definitely don’t want to miss.
1. August 13 – Saint Gaetan, Ħamrun
Saint Gaetan (San Gejtanu) is mainly known for the Marċ tal-Brijju, which begins in the mid-morning of the feast day and ends in the afternoon. As beautiful as it is, it’s the rivalry between the two band clubs that makes this festa so iconic.
2. August 15 – The Assumption of Our Lady, Mosta
Here’s the big one, with a public holiday to boot. The Assumption of Our Lady is celebrated in seven localities at the same time, but thanks to the Rotonda, Mosta’s takes the cake. Street parties, processions, festa food, and fireworks – it’s all there, and that’s not to mention the beautiful lights around the Mosta dome.
3. August 27 – Saint Julian, Saint Julian’s
Rated as one of the biggest festivals on the island, the Saint Julians feast offers more than your regular fireworks. You’ve got the ġostra, the morning march with the patron saint, massive street parties, and of course, festa food.
4. September 8 – The Nativity of Our Lady, Xagħra, Gozo
This one doesn’t only have religious value, it’s also a part of our history. It’s a time to remember both our religious values and our three greatest victories. The Nativity of Our Lady, also known as Jum il-Vittorja, sees street parades, religious activities, and firework displays. An excellent excuse to spend some time on the sister island.
5. September 24 – Our Lady of Mellieħa, Mellieħa
Our Lady of Mellieħa is primarily known for the incredible fireworks display it puts on. It celebrates Our Lady who protects the village from a shrine containing a painting made by St Luke when he was shipwrecked with St Paul.
All set to go? Just don’t forget your sunblock and to hydrate regularly if you opt for one of the daytime band marches. The summer sun is a killer even during festa time.