Tag Archives: village feast

Malta: A Summer of Feasts

Maltese feasts

Summer in Malta is characterised by traditional feasts which are held every weekend. These village feasts venerating the saints are an integral part of the Maltese culture and its Catholic tradition.

The ‘festa’ is the main social event in the Maltese villages and the local patrons look forward to this once a year event. In fact the week-long celebrations are the outcome of months of hard work by volunteers to celebrate the parish patron saint. On the day of the feast the statue of the patron saint is carried around the streets and is accompanied by brass bands. The celebrations themselves include magnificent firework displays, brass band music and street life. Band music is one of the most popular traditions on the Maltese Islands. Every town and village has at least one, and usually two band clubs. Traditional festa snacks include the rich and colourful nougat.

The village feast is an opportunity for Maltese families to get together at the village square and it is also the perfect occasion for visitors to experience the Maltese village life. Two of the major Maltese feasts are the Assumption of Our Lady which is held on the 15th of August and Our Lady of Victories which is celebrated on the 8th September. Our Lady of Victories, also known as ‘il-Vitorja’, commemorates the defeat of the Turks at the end of the Great Siege of 1565. The highlight of this feast is the Regatta (boat race) held at the Grand Harbour.

Undoubtedly, the village feast remains one of Malta’s most visual cultural festivities with food stands selling traditional Maltese nougat and spectacular exhibition of fireworks. The entire village is also decorated with banners and buildings such as the band clubs are also lavishly decorated.

Visiting Malta this Summer? Feel free to contact our Concierge Team to find out which feast will be taking place during your holidays in Malta. The Grand Hotel Excelsior also offers private chauffeur driven service to various locations around Malta and Gozo.

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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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