Breaking records has become somewhat of a national pass-time, and when it comes to Maltese traditions, none are as widely loved as fireworks. Merging both, the island’s biggest ever firework ball will finally be lighting our sky tomorrow night.
Initially made for Valletta’s Pageant of the Seas spectacle, the fireball – aptly named the “Shell of Shells” – was meant to close the Sette Giugno celebrations in the Grand Harbour. However, just two days before, the people behind the fireball – Manwel Gauci and Żurrieq’s Saint Catherine Fireworks Factory – were informed that a permit had not been issued “for safety reasons”.
Now, the record-breaking petard (which is a whopping 53 inches in diameter) will instead be fired tomorrow in its hometown of Żurrieq.
Taking to Facebook, Valletta 2018 invited the public to check out the firing of the impressive and unique petard for themselves. Saying that the fireball had not been fired in the capital due to “weather conditions on the day”, Valletta 2018 explained that the Shell of Shells will be fired from a barge floating 3.3 kilometres away from Wied iż-Żurrieq and a further 3.3. kilometres away from Filfla.
The fireball is scheduled to be launched at 10pm.
Meanwhile, BirdLife Malta has expressed concerns at the fireball barge’s proximity to Filfla. In a Facebook post, the NGO said the record-breaking fireball will result in “a considerable amount of petards” close to the island, which also happens to be a Natura 2000 site.
“Seabirds inhabiting Filfla, which are currently during their nesting periods (namely Scopoli’s Shearwater and the Mediterranean Storm-petrel) are very sensitive to both light and noise pollution,” BirdLife said. “Even fireworks or light along the south-west coast of Malta already have an effect on this seabird haven.”
According to the Appropriate Assessment carried out ahead of tomorrow’s event, however, the blast’s impact will be “similar to a thunderstorm or lightning strike”, in that it will indeed frighten seabird species, but not disorient fledglings and feeding behaviour of adults.