Exploring the Rich Feasts on Gozo Island, Malta
If you are planning to visit Gozo Island in Malta, you must not miss the vibrant and exhilarating feasts that take place throughout the year. Being a deeply religious and cultural place, Gozo hosts numerous festivals in every season, but the major feasts attract locals and tourists from worldwide. Here are the six most significant feasts that add charm to Gozo's culture:
1. Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24):
Celebrated in Xewkija city, the feast is dedicated to the patron saint of the city. The lively street processions are accompanied by band marches and fireworks. The iconic landmark of the church, The Rotunda of Xewkija, is illuminated with beautiful lights and numerous decorations during the week-long festivities.
2. Feast of St. George (23 April):
Held in Victoria, the capital of Gozo, it is one of the first feasts celebrated in Gozo, and it marks the arrival of summer. The church of St. George is richly adorned with religious decorations, and the town is brimming with festive events such as band marches, cultural shows, and exuberant street parties.
3. Feast of Santa Marija (Assumption Day, 15 August):
This is the most significant feast on the island, celebrated with great pomp and grandeur. The feasts begin with an early morning procession from the church of Santa Marija, followed by the regattas in the Grand Harbor of the capital city, Valletta. This grand feast culminates with a spectacular display of fireworks on the last day.
4. Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady (First weekend in July):
The village of Gharb celebrates the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady with impressive religious ceremonies, cultural events, and folk singing. The black-clad choirboys sing Gregorian chants, devotional hymns, and religious sermons throughout the week-long festivities.
5. Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29):
The Gozitans celebrate the feast of L-Imnarja, dedicated to the patron saints of farmers, St. Peter, and St. Paul with a series of functions starting from the eve of the feast day. The celebration includes horse races, traditional folk songs, and feasting on traditional Maltese dishes, such as maze and soppa tal-armla.
6. Feast of the Divine Mother (8 September):
The village of Xagħra hosts the feast of the Divine Mother with great ardor and enthusiasm. The special highlight of the festivities is a hand-made statue of the Divine Mother paraded through the streets accompanied by various musical bands, colorful bunting, and decorative illuminations. The street celebration includes various performances, food stalls, and other amusement activities.
If you are looking for a unique experience, then Gozo's feasts are a must-see during Malta's summer months. The excitement and energy that locals and visitors bring to these yearly celebrations are simply not to be missed! Be sure to add Gozo's feasts to your bucket list and enjoy the rich cultural and religious traditions of Maltese people.