Category Archives: Malta Attractions

The Festa Band in the Maltese Culture…

 Feasts in Malta

Summer is in full swing and so are the village feasts that are celebrated around the Maltese islands. During the year, especially during the summer months, towns and villages around Malta celebrate their locality’s feast in honour of their patron saint.

Lija Feast - Clive VellaBut there’s no feast without celebration and music. Band clubs in Malta are part of the social and cultural history of the Maltese islands. In fact most of the towns and villages in Malta have their own band club. Its aim is to spread Maltese culture and to teach music to the local community. Many musicians who have gone on to make a name for themselves, locally or abroad, owe their success, in part, to the encouragement and teaching of the local band club.

These philharmonic societies or band clubs, originated way back in the second part of the 19th century. With the financial support of local businessmen, individuals who possessed the talent to learn how to play an instrument bought a musical instrument and started learning, with the primary aim of performing in the village feast.

By time, the number of band clubs flourished and a Band Clubs Association was formed. This year the Association is celebrating its 60th anniversary, endorsing a membership of 84 band clubs across the island. According to the latest survey by the local National Statistics Office, the total number of bandsmen/women (bandisti) amount to over 4,000.

Every town and village in Malta and Gozo has its own band club, some even have two, as there are certain villages which celebrate two feasts – one dedicated to the patron saint and the other celebrating the so called ‘secondary’ feast of another saint. During feast time competition is at its max, where each band club strives to be the best, decorating the façade of the club’s premises in the most colourful and vivid way, launching new musical numbers, and creating the most merrymaking atmosphere possible. Marching in rows of six, wearing uniforms and proudly showing off the badge of their club, a band is normally composed of between 60 and 70 bands-men/women playing a variety of instruments.

During your summer holidays in Malta enjoy a typical Maltese feast and be part of the local festivities. And whilst staying at this superior 5 star hotel in Malta be sure to ask Our Concierge for assistance in planning your excursions and for recommendations on places to visit.

Information obtained from www.guidetomalta.net

Photos courtesy of www.viewingmalta.com, Mario Galea and Clive Vella.

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The Malta International Fireworks Festival

Tomorrow, the 30th April 2014 is the last day of this year’s edition of the Malta International Fireworks Festival.

Fireworks Festival Malta

A number of Maltese and foreign fireworks factories will be participating in this competitive event, presenting spectacular pyrotechnic displays synchronised to music. The festival forms part of the anniversary celebrations of Malta’s accession to the European Union as it coincides with 10 years since Malta joined the European Union.

Tradition of Fireworks in Malta
Fireworks in Malta have a long tradition which goes back to the time of the Order of the Knights of St. John. The feu de joie using gun salutes, the musketterija firing of muskets, the solfarelli d’aria, St. Catherine’s wheels (irdieden) and other forms of fireworks originated from explosives that were lit off from mortars (maskli) as an expression of rejoicing. Special occasions when such festivities were held were: The election of a Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John; the election of a Pope who was the overall protector and ruler of the Order; the birth of a prince from a friendly European state or else to mark an important victory over the Ottoman military might.

Fireworks developed into a craft when the Maltese started to celebrate the events connected to their British rulers in the 19th and 20th centuries. This centuries-old tradition is still very much alive in the crowded calendar of village festas that take place all over Malta and Gozo, especially in the summer months.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior offers you great insight on things to do in Malta. Visit the website of this superior 5 star hotel in Malta and stay updated with events taking place around Malta.

For more details about this event kindly visit: http://www.maltafireworksfestival.com.

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Experience Medieval Mdina

An age of chivalry

mdina

Mdina was inhabited and possibly first fortified by the Phoenicians around 700 BCE. Phoenicians called it Maleth. The region benefits from its strategic location on one of the island’s highest points and at maximum distance from the sea. Under the Roman Empire, Malta became a Municipium and the Roman Governor built his palace in Mdina. Tradition holds that the Apostle St. Paul resided in the city after his historical shipwreck on the islands. Much of its present architecture reflects the Fatimid Period which began in 999 AD until the Norman conquest of Malta in 1091 AD. The Normans surrounded the city with thick defensive fortifications and widened the moat. The city was also separated it from its nearest town, Rabat.

Malta passed to the Order of Knights of the Hospitallier of St John of Jerusalem in 1530 AD. Mdina hosted the public ceremony in which each Grand Master swore an oath to protect the Maltese Islands and the rights of his subjects. A strong earthquake in 1693 AD led to the introduction of Baroque design within the cityscape. The Knights of Malta rebuilt the cathedral, to the designs of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa. Palazzo Falzon, the Magisterial Palace and major restoration works are other projects undertaken by the Knights.

Another great Event in Malta – the Mdina Festival

the-medieval-mdina-festival 2

The Medieval Mdina Festival will be organised for the fifth consecutive year in the streets of Mdina. The Festival will be held between the 3rd and 4th May 2014. During this two day event there will be re-enactments by foreign and local groups, Medieval Music, Sbandieratori, Illusionist, Jester, Falconry and birds of prey, Lectures, Concerts, Food & Drinks, Medieval Market, Medieval Kitchen and Children’s Area.

The popularity of this Festival is evident from the number of visitors in previous years. The request from a good number of foreigners and Travel Agents proves that this festival is now popular as well with foreign enthusiasts. Some Tour Operators also advertise the Festival in their brochures. During the Festival the participants will perform all day long in various corners and squares of Mdina. Exhibits will include battles, skirmishes, re-enactments of scenes from the Medieval Period,
like the Town Crier, a Slave Market, a re-enactment of a Medieval Kitchen, Sword Fighting, Archery, Medieval Tavern, Magic Shows, Live Music, Birds of Prey flights, Parades, Flag Throwing shows, and spontaneous re-enactments.

The festival serves as a cultural exchange between local talents and foreign groups, disseminating the cultural heritage of the Medieval Times. It is also a good educational exercise to teach both children and adults the history of the City of Mdina. During the festival all the Tourist Attractions extend their opening hours and offer special reduced prices. Food and drinks will be in abundance during the Festival and a good number of outlets will offer medieval food on in their menus during those days.

As it is the smallest Local Council on the Island, the Mdina Local Council requires a lot of support to organise such a significant event. Indeed the festival is supported by a number of Goverment Departments; residents and the local Business Community, particularly the SMEs present in Mdina.This assistance takes several forms, ranging from advertising to direct participation. Indeed, some companies set up stands exhibiting their products, and are directly involved in exchanges with similar international exhibitors. This gives the festival another dimension, that of a promoter for exchange of ideas amongst other business communities.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior offers you great insight on things to do in Malta. Visit the website of this superior 5 star hotel in Malta and stay updated with events taking place around Malta.

Photos courtesy of www.viewingmalta.com.

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