Festa programmes are as much part of any Maltese village feast as processions, fireworks, and damask. Yet, on top of giving enthusiasts a breakdown of what will be happening in the days leading up to the big day, they also detail plenty of important and easily-lost information about local history.
They do this through their biographies of local conductors, band club presidents, mayors, and so on, but also through articles and images about local artists, artisans, and their art, cultural happenings, and titbits of local history that can range from recent restorations to new buildings.
Since 2019, in a first for Malta, a team of eight librarians has been working on creating an archive of these festa programmes, both to preserve the precious information contained within, and also to give current and future researchers better tools.
Located within the Library of the Junior College in Msida, the archive now boasts over 7,000 programmes dating from 1952 to the present. What’s particularly special, however, is that these programmes have all been donated by band clubs or private collectors, making this a collective effort to preserve collective memory.
Each of the festa programmes, on top of being catalogued and organised at library-level, is also being scanned and uploaded to OAR@UM, the University of Malta’s institutional repository that is accessible to all.
So, if you too have some unwanted festa programmes, then we urge you to get in touch with Kollezzjoni Programmi tal-Festa, either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), by phone (2590 7237), or else through their Facebook page, Kollezzjoni Programmi tal-Festa.
P.S. If you’re a collector looking to add more programmes to your collection, the archive also has numerous duplicates which it is giving away!