Since Malta is a predominantly Catholic country, it is no wonder that public holidays and celebrations are surrounded by many events centered on religion. During average Christian feasts and celebrations, the locals gather to enjoy food, drink, song, and friendship. In this article, you will encounter some of the festivities that take place in the months of June, July, and August.
June is referred to as the month of reaping, bonfires, St. Peter and St. Paul, and Sacred Heart. The Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (patron saints) is a public holiday in Malta that is observed on June 29. Known as the Imnarja, many families enjoy a picnic on this day, where bands play in the parks, competitions for singers are held, and decorated floats decorate the streets during a parade.
Other religious holidays and feasts in Malta involve Christ the Redeemer, St. Philip, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Lily, St. Catherine, St. John the Baptist, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Nicholas, and St. George. On the fourth Sunday of June, St. John is also celebrated in Malta.
Sette Giugno is a national holiday that takes place every year on June 7 in Malta. In 1919 (on the same day), a series of riots involving Maltese locals broke out. The people banded together to protest against profiteering merchants and the British colonial government. British troops fired into the crowd , taking the lives of four rioters. In the end, the riots marked the first steps in gaining independence in Malta. On November 9, 1924, the bodies of the four victims were placed in a tomb located at the Addolorata Cemetery. However, it wasn’t until June 7, 1986 that a Sette Giugno monument was inaugurated at St. George Square (Palace Square) in Valletta. On March 21, 1989, the Maltese Parliament announced that the day was to become one of five national days celebrated on the island. The first official commemoration of the day took place on June 7, 1989.
In July, a variety of religious holidays are observed in Malta. They deal with The Visitation, St. Paul, Our Lady of Sacred Heart, St. Andrew, Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Family, St. Anne, and St. Venera. On various days throughout the month, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated throughout the country. On the last Sunday in July, there is a feast held for Christ the King in Paola, Malta.
In August, the Maltese prepare to celebrate the month of fruit, St. Mary, and St. Lawrence. Other religious observances followed throughout the country include The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, St.Peter in Chains, St. Lawrence, the Seven St. Marys, and St. Roque. On the third Sunday of August, Stella Maris (also known as Our Lady Star of the Sea) is celebrated in Sliema. On the last Sunday of August in Birgu, the people pay homage to St. Dominic of Guzman.
On August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady is a public holiday held in Malta.