8th September – Victory Day
Here in Malta we have a number of national holidays. Each holiday has its own unique tradition of what we do on the day or what to eat. We Maltese are quite traditional as a country and we love the typical activities associated with each holiday. Tomorrow is the 8th of September where we celebrate Victory day.
The Tradition behind the 8th September holiday
On this glorious day in September we commemorate the victories our ancestors had ages ago on three occasions. The oldest victory remembered on this day dates back to 1565 during which Malta was under the rule of the Knights and it won the final battle against the ottoman empire. We also celebrate the victory against the French in the 1800s as well as the end of the siege of Malta against the Italians during World war II. We Maltese are a proud people therefore it is fit that we celebrate the victories of our forefathers with a holiday (and we get to have the day off).
The Religious part of 8th September
Malta is a Roman Catholic country and we give a certain importance to our faith. Each locality in Malta has its own patron saint and once a year we celebrate a feast in honor of that patron saint. The 8th September is the catholic feast of the birth of the Virgin Mary and two Maltese localities have this date as their village feast.
So….What to do on This Holiday?
There are three main traditions associated with this holiday. First is the parade by the Armed Forces of Malta in the capital city Valletta where a garland is placed by the President of Malta and the Representatives of Parliament near the monument that commemorates the Great Siege of 1565. Afterwards a mass is celebrated at St. John’s co-cathedral for the President and the Representatives of Parliament.
The second tradition is regatta race held in the Grand Harbor. The regatta race is a bi-annual event where a number of clubs compete in a number of different boat races. Being competitive as a nation makes such events more enjoyable. For the best view of the races, Senglea and the Valletta Waterfront are the best options. Afterwards the club that wins usually hosts a party to celebrate the victory.
The village feasts in Senglea and Naxxar are the third tradition associated with this national holiday. During the feasts, the locals go around the streets of the cities with the statues of the patron saint along with the village band. At some point during this procession there are spectacular firework displays to end the day on a shimmering note.
Tip form a local: We take our national holidays seriously therefore do not schedule a day for shopping on such a day. To get the most out of your visit do try these traditional activities as you can learn a lot of our culture during these events. If you are attending the regatta races, do put on sunblock and take a bottle of water (or 2).
Until next time, stay safe and have a free day (as I am going to do myself)