Religious feasts or ‘festas’ have been an important part of Maltese culture for decades.
Maltese summer nights are particularly memorable for their long history of village feasts,.
As well as a religious celebration, feasts are well known for their bright firework displays, processions, vibrant colours, band marches, crowded village squares and electric atmosphere.
Since every village has at least one patron saint, there are approximately 60 village feasts that take place every summer alone.
The feasts featured in our archive footage from the 1950s are the Festa Madonna tal-Karmnu held in Valletta every July and the Festa Santa Marija held in Mosta every August.
Some feasts, such as the Feast of St Peter and St Paul in June have become national holidays.
Loud, colourful and exciting, Malta’s pyrotechnic abilities are shown off at every festa with massive firework displays which take months and months to plan and prepare.
The ceremonial highlight of any festa is the carrying of the statue of the village saint out of the church and into the streets, accompanied by a cheering crowd
Each festa typically has the same structure. Five days of festivities revolving around the patron saint of each parish, building up to the weekend feast itself.
The Maltese village festa sums up all that is Mediterranean in one event.