THE VILLAGE FESTA

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One of the best examples of Maltese tradition and culture is the village ‘Festa’, an annual joyous celebration involving the entire community and continuing for several days. The ‘Festa’ is largely a religious festival, and is held in every village between the months of May and September. Each village has a patron saint and this is the focus of the village feast. On a certain weekend of the year the villagers will decorate the streets with banners and statues dedicated to the saint and for almost a week locals and tourists rejoice and celebrate the feast, culminating in the ceremonial parading of the saint’s statue in a joyful procession to every corner of the village.

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During the ‘Festa’ the whole village is decorated and comes alive with numerous events such as fireworks, church services and performances by the local brass band. The streets are full of stall holders selling a variety of food and beverages. Traditional and fast food stands compete with each other, but the big sellers are the much loved Maltese nougat and other local sweet delicacies.

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Although the parading of the statue is the ceremonial highlight of each ‘Festa’, equally exciting is the compulsory fireworks display. Fireworks are a big part of Maltese tradition and nowhere is this better showcased than at the village feast. The show involves noisy displays of sound and colour that light up the night sky.

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The village ‘Festa’ is regarded as the main annual social event of each parish in Malta. It is a celebration of all they hold dear; religion, spirituality, family, friends, food, drink, wellbeing. These special events are not only cherished by the Maltese, but have become great tourist attractions and I am always appreciative of my welcome to join in the festivities and be thrilled and enchanted by these unique experiences.

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From ‘IN LOVE WITH MALTA’ (The Hidden Treasures)

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