Photographer's Note

Festas in Malta

With nearly 60 festas in Malta on the annual calendar (mostly during the summer months and nearly 20 festa events on the smaller sister island of Gozo, the Maltese festa, a religious celebration organized by the local parish, is a typical scene of the hot summer months on the island, and very much an iconic part of culture in Malta.

One of the highlights you may experience on your visit to Malta is the festas which are held throughout the villages and towns around Malta during the year. Each year towns and villages in both Malta and Gozo celebrate the patron saint of their village in true Maltese festive tradition.

During this time villages and towns are transformed with flags, banners, statues and other festive attributes usually including a fireworks display of some kind. The work, dedication and planning that goes into these festivals is astounding and the end result is something not to be missed. These festas have grown over the years into an almost competitive event with each village or town trying to produce the biggest and best festa each year.


All roads in Gozo lead to Rabat, also known as Victoria. The village’s Citadel is visible from almost all the Island, rising steeply above the surrounding countryside.

Victoria is not just the geographic heart of Gozo, it is also the centre of everyday activity. It manages to combine the bustle of its market and shops with a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. It is a great place to watch the Islanders go about their day, especially when the main market square, It-Tokk, comes to life.

The Citadel in Gozo owes its roots to the late medieval era, but the hill has been settled since Neolithic times. For centuries, the Citadel served as a sanctuary from attack by Barbary corsairs and Saracens. At several times during Gozo’s history, these raiders took its population into slavery.

After the Great Siege of 1565, the Knights set about re-fortifying the Citadel to provide refuge and defence against further attack. Until 1637, the Gozitan population was required by law to spend their nights within the Citadel for their own safety. In later, more peaceful times, this restriction was lifted and people settled below its walls, creating the prosperous town of Rabat, now known as Victoria.

Browse around Victoria's market and narrow winding streets and you'll find everything from delicious fresh produce, cheeses and wines, to antiques, craft goods, fishing nets and knitwear. The town also has a thriving cultural life all its own, with some surprising attractions ranging from opera to horse races in the main street on festa day. (Source: visitmalta)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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