All feast celebrations have been put on hold in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. While the virus might not make it to summer, some feast organisers feel that these delays have already spelled the end of Malta’s beloved feast season.
“We believe that it’s going to be a summer without feasts,” a self-employed event organiser to Lovin Malta.
“Preparations in the streets to set up decorations for a normal village feast start at least two months before which means it’s already impossible to set up some feasts,” he said.
Two days ago, the Maltese Curia announced that all feast and religious celebrations will be put on hold until Malta’s health authorities give them the go-ahead to be organised.
“This year was going to be one of the busiest to date with projections of over 35 big events and 17 village feasts.”
“In less than 24 hours from when the restrictions were announced, we lost all the jobs that we had booked up until mid-June, while the rest have been put on hold.”
“We are now also expecting for feasts to start getting cancelled as well.”
Though this is a blow to Maltese traditions and culture, it also has more tangible ramifications such as the possibility of unemployment for some.
“Organising a feast costs thousands of euros with fundraising events being held all year round. As the feast gets closer, fundraising activities usually increase but this year a lot of them have been cancelled.”
“It’s also going to be very difficult to find sponsors to sustain the expenses.”
For some, their feast season is over before it starts, even if the coronavirus does disappear tomorrow with the wave of a magic wand.
“There will be a ripple effect and we will have a very slow start even after everything passes.”
“It’s going to take years to regain the pace that we were going at. Also, if this pandemic continues for a while, it could also mean that I would have to start selling our equipment or look for other jobs. There’s a limit on how long one can cope without an income,” he ended.
In the meantime, Malta continues to confirm new cases of coronavirus on the daily with Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci announcing five new cases earlier today. All non-essential retail and service stores have closed putting thousands of jobs at risk, all because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.