Santa Marija Festa

8 August 2013

Santa Marija Festa
While walking around Malta at the moment you can't help but notice lots of dazzling lights and colourful flags decorating the towns and villages. If you travel to Malta between May and September you can join in the Maltese tradition which dates back as far as the 16th century.

All the villages and towns in Malta celebrate at least one parish patron saint every year, with some celebrations span across an entire week. The rich Summer schedule allows for multiple festas each weekend.

Expect roads to be closed off for traffic as locals and tourists flock to the streets to enjoy the incredible firework displays, beautiful street decorations and music performed by the town bands known as 'marci'. You will also find various stalls offering food, drinks, toys and local delicacies. 

Typically the church is the focal point of the festa, illuminated with hundreds of lights and decorated inside and out. Keen villagers parade the statue of their patron saint through the village, whilst supported with a warm reception from onlookers. 

Santa Marija, also known as the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, is always on the 15th August and is looked forward to every year. There are over seven towns and villages that hold the festa on the day but none, in my opinion, as famous as the celebrations in Gozo.  A lot of companies and businesses shut-down during this time for a summer break, adding a further incentive for others to travel to Gozo to enjoy the activities. The festa itself is also recognised as a public holiday.  A majority of the Maltese head over to Gozo for the week to enjoy the celebrations, sunshine and the opportunity to be merry, turning the sleepy isle of Gozo into a bustling hub of entertainment for some days.

To get to Gozo, you have to catch the ferry from Cirkewwa. During Santa Marija weekend the trip can take longer than usual, purely due to the numbers of people who head over, so be prepared with some water and sun cream, maybe even a packed lunch, as you may be waiting at the shade-less ferry port for a little while! It will be worth it though. Promise! 

Read more about Festas in Malta

Author: Sabine Jung

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