While Maltese Village feasts’ main intention is to honour and celebrate the life of the various patron saints our country is obsessed with, they also present the truly devout with the opportunity to prove their faith by participating in swearing contests, stuffing faces with burgers, and binging on beer.
Although we’ll be looking at particular characteristics that pertain to five popular Summer Maltese festi, we can safely bet that the essence of the Maltese festa is pretty much constant. It has been so for hundreds of years, and is bound to remain for hundreds to come.
1. St Publius, Floriana
While not strictly a ‘Summer Feast’, it is generally acknowledged that the Floriana celebrations in March kick off the local festa season in style. They even include a ‘Festa tat-Tfal’, where kids accompanied by a small band parade through the streets carrying a miniature version of the St Publius statue.
2. San Bastjan & San Ġorġ, Qormi
We’re gonna get a lot of hate for listing these two together, but hear us out. We know, they’re two separate band clubs, with two separate patron saints, and two separate feasts. But the festa experience comes through via this rivalry. Although this practice has been drastically toned down lately, one highlight of the St George and St Sebastian feasts has always been the confrontation between the każini.
3. Maria Annunzjata, Ħal Tarxien
Mqaret. Candyfloss. Batman Costumes. Machine Guns. Lots and lots of qubbajt. Frilly streaks of white and blue adorning most every roof, balcony and window. And obviously Viva Lonza Tagħna! You read it right. Lonza.
4. Maria Bambina, Senglea
Nothing beats the smell of the salty seaside air mingled with whiffs of beer and Ħambergers mix-Xatt! Senglea is one of the cities which takes their festa a bit too seriously.
Following the Bambina on her annual beery trudge through the old city’s streets, you cannot help but wonder how much this takes her back to when she was just a figurehead floating on the Adriatic.
5. Santa Marija, Mqabba
No matter what they told you, size definitely does matter! Mqabba’s St Mary Fireworks Factory, is home to some of the world’s greatest, most sophisticated fireworks and Catherine Wheels.
The local fireworks enthusiasts have earned their ‘expert’ status after winning the 2006 Malta International Fireworks Festival and the 2007 Caput Lucis Fireworks World Championships.
The article has been updated to amend the title of the feast on point 5.