During the Summer each church in Malta (of which there are 313 in Malta and 46 in Gozo according to Wikipedia) has it’s own festa- or feast- to celebrate the patron saint of the local parish.
It usually consists of unnecessarily loud fireworks being let off intermittently throughout the DAY from about 9am. The point if this? No idea. In fact, no one seems to have any idea, not even the Maltese themselves. They literally let off a plethora throughout the day when no one can see them and the only purpose they seem to serve is to annoy and to set off as many car and apartment alarms as possible. It’s quite possible on your first visit to Malta to wake up and seriously believe that you’re being bombed. That is how loud they are!
Then at night the roads get closed and everyone congregates in the streets and then… nothing really happens. There are a few burger stalls, some candyfloss and donut sellers. Fireworks do go off but it’s certainly not a proper display, they let off about one or two every 15 minutes. The main event is a marching band and religious folk carrying a larger than life statue of Jesus or Mary which inevitably gets caught on the lights they have strewn from building to building.
This was actually quite funny, watching 15 foot Jesus attempting to hang himself on the glowing wire of the fairy lights. It was like a symbolism of religion in modern day culture and probably shouldn’t have been comical but most definitely was.
The effect is quite pretty, I love all the lights and the banners hanging in the streets, and even if the statues and chanting are a bit creepy, it’s nice how everyone comes together to celebrate. But all in all, I don’t really get it. I’d understand if there was music and the kind of stalls where you do something like throw hoops or balls and win prizes but as it is, everyone seems to come out especially and then just do nothing.
All in all it was quite nice though. Joe, Chris, Nanny and I walked about a bit then went to the Kennedy Nova hotel rooftop bar for some drinks whilst watching the occasional firework. Nanny had a good singalong with the keyboard player and it was a really nice relaxed evening.