What is the Festa?

A Maltese tradition, it is the most important event in every Maltese village. A religious festival by excellence, it commemorates the patron saint of each village.

It appeared in the 16th century and was the occasion to give alms of bread and coins to the needy.

In the 18th century, the Order of St John of Jerusalem invested part of its wealth in decorating the streets, lighting up the churches, decorating the naves, and setting off fireworks.

The preparation of these festivities represents a lot of work beforehand, the members of the organising committee have to collect the necessary funds to buy the firecrackers and rockets.

Then comes the decoration of the village with lights, banners… The inhabitants have a great time decorating their houses, some even displaying a statue of the Patron Saint. The church bells ring much more often than usual during this week. Celebrated for two days, some can last a whole week. A rivalry arises between the villages, each wanting to organise the most beautiful festa.

On the day, in the morning, mass is said. The main statue of the Patron Saint leaves the church hoisted on the shoulders of bearers and marches through the streets. Behind it, the clergymen, the local band, and the crowd follow, and as they pass, confetti is thrown from the balconies and by the spectators. 

Food stalls are set up for the occasion where you can sample local specialties while listening to local bands playing traditional Maltese music in the streets.

At the end of the evening, around midnight, you can hear the sound of fireworks and watch the sky light up with colour.