August in Malta: The Month of Boisterous Festas

Written by Albert Fenech
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“August – the month of boisterous festas and celebrations in Malta – the time to join in the fun!”

In our Gregorian calendar, August is the eighth month of the year and in the northern half of the world it epitomises the last month of summer while in the second half, winter.

Originally it was named Sextilius in the early Roman era but later was changed to Augustus in honour of the Roman Emperor Gaius Caesar and his many events of victories and celebrities.

Festas and Celebrations in Malta

Festas and Celebrations in Malta

With the evolvement of Christianity in Europe over the centuries, the month of August became studded with the celebratory events commemorating saints and high events and all became days of boisterous and colourful church and street celebrations for the community to participate in and enjoy.

Below is an update of all forthcoming town and village festive celebrations in August. Further down I have selected the most renowned for various reasons:

List Of Malta And Gozo Feasts For August

  • 6th –Christ Our Saviour, Lija
  • 6th – Peter in Chains, Birzebbuga
  • 6th – Joseph, Qala, Gozo
  • 6th –Our Lady of Lourdes, San Gwann
  • 6th – Dominic, Valletta
  • 10th – Laurence, Birgu (Vittoriosa)
  • 13th –San Gejtanu, Hamrun
  • 13th – San Massimiljanu Kolbe, Qawra
  • 15th –The Assumption of Our Lady: Mqabba | Qrendi | Mosta | Gudja Attard | Ghaxaq | Victoria (Rabat), Gozo | Birkirkara | Hal-Muxi Zebbug
  • 20th –The Assumption of Our Lady, Zebbug, Gozo
  • 20th –Assumption of Our Lady, Mgarr
  • 20th – Helen of Constantinople, Birkirkara
  • 20th –Our Lady of Lourdes, Paola
  • 20th –Our Lady Star of the Sea, Stella Maris Parish, Sliema
  • 20th –Assumption of Our Lady, Dingli
  • 20th – Leonard, Kirkop
  • 21st – Pius X, Santa Lucija
  • *26th –Our Lady of the Girdle, Santu Wistin Valletta
  • 27th – Dominic, Birgu (Vittoriosa)
  • 27th –Our Lady of Loreto, Ghajnsielem, Gozo
  • 27th – Bartholomew, Gharghur
  • 27th –Maria Regina, Marsa
  • 27th – Joseph, Manikata
  • 27th –Conversion of St. Paul, Safi
  • 27th – Julian, St. Julian’sFestas and Celebrations in Malta

Boisterous 

These I have categorised as the most colourful, boisterous and the most rowdy of celebrations.

  • 13th –San Gejtanu, Hamrun

This has to take the biscuit! Its band street marches should definitely NOT be missed and normally take place every night for seven nights leading to the 13th. Hamrun has two main bands, the San Gejtanu Band (sporting red) and the St Joseph Band (sporting blue) and they annually vie to outdo each other. Marches take place in different streets so as avoid street rivalry and clashes. On the most Sunday morning famed street march they annually alternately follow each other – well separated by a strong Police presence, but … however …what will be, will be.

Just one example, some years’ back I was accompanied by an American-Maltese friend who had just arrived from New York, for the Sunday morning band march. I warned him to stay off the alcohol as much as possible, especially when combined with a temperature of 40C degrees. I also warned him of violent rivalry crowd movement.

“He, he” he gloated condescendingly “I am from New York and have seen it all before boy!”

After five demanding hours I had to help him off the pavement and carry him to our vehicle. The only comment he made was “boy, I have never, ever seen anything like this before”.

  • 6th – Dominic, Valletta
  • 10th – Laurence, Birgu (Vittoriosa)

These are and were also renowned for their street band marches but have declined in recent years – yet still worth a visit because of their environment surroundings and colourful displays.

Festas and Celebrations in Malta

Street drapes – all hand-woven

Fireworks

  • 6th –Christ Our Saviour, Lija
  • 20th – Helen of Constantinople, Birkirkara
  • 15th – The Assumption of Our Lady: Mqabba | Qrendi | Mosta

These are the areas renowned for their amazing fireworks displays of ground, aerial and music-synchronised terrestrial displays and the most famed have now become Mqabba and Qrendi.

Previously, displays used to be judged on duration, colour and volume of explosions that shook the surrounding vicinities. This has now given way to artistic painting of the night skies while being synchronised and accompanied by music.

Festas and Celebrations in Malta

Solemnity

  • 10th – Laurence, Birgu (Vittoriosa)
  • 15th – The Assumption of Our Lady: Mqabba | Qrendi | Mosta | Gudja Attard | Ghaxaq | Victoria (Rabat), Gozo | Birkirkara | Hal-Muxi Zebbug
  • 20th –The Assumption of Our Lady, Zebbug, Gozo
  • 20th –Assumption of Our Lady, Mgarr, Malta
  • 20th – Helen of Constantinople, Birkirkara
  • 20th –Our Lady Star of the Sea, Stella Maris Parish, Sliema
  • 20th –Assumption of Our Lady, Dingli
  • 20th – Leonard, Kirkop
  • 21st – Pius X, Santa Lucija
  • 26th –Our Lady of the Girdle, Santu Wistin Valletta
  • 27th – Dominic, Birgu (Vittoriosa)
  • 27th –Our Lady of Loreto, Ghajnsielem, Gozo
  • 27th – Bartholomew, Gharghur
  • 27th –Maria Regina, Marsa

These parishes are more renowned for their solemn religious celebrations but are worth a visit to view the historic and clerical views of their background and of course the beautifully decorated churches and streets and some lavishly decorated house fronts.

To cap it all, there will also be the annual August Moon Ball sponsored by Malta’s President Dr George Vella and his goodwife Madame Miriam Vella, a lavish musical ball, proceeds of which go entirely to charity. This will be held on Saturday’s 5th August. It’s open to visitors and residents alike.

***

BeSeeingYou In: Malta in August 

Good To Know: Malta and Gozo’s festas are among the most boisterous and colourful in the world

WOW Factor: The  breadth of styles and varieties of festivals

TIP: Stay sober to really endure and enjoy the all-day/all-night celebrations

Author Bio: Albert Fenech

Albert Fenech
Born in 1946, Albert Fenech’s family took up UK residence in 1954 where he spent his boyhood and youth before temporarily returning to Malta between 1957 and 1959 and then coming back to Malta permanently in 1965. He spent eight years as a full-time journalist with “The Times of Malta” before taking up a career in HR Management and Administration with a leading construction company building the Benghazi Hospital in Libya, later with Malta Insurance Brokers, Malta’s leading insurance Broker and finally STMicroelectronics Malta, employing 3,000 employees and Malta’s leading industrial manufacturer. Throughout he actively pursued freelance journalism and broadcasting for various media outlets covering social issues, current affairs, sports and travel. He was Publications Editor for the Malta Football Association for 25 years and has written for a number of publications both in Malta and overseas, as well as publishing two e-books.

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