Ground fireworks synchronised to music - a Maltese speciality.

Ground fireworks synchronised to music – a Maltese speciality.

All good things come to an end. One of my former newspaper editors had another way of putting it when an event or a function was moving towards its terminal stage – it’s all over…bar the shouting.

 Painting the sky.

Painting the sky.

Malta’s festa season has reached this stage for another year after the dramas of a riot of colour in the night sky and on the ground, reaching its peak in August with a stream of festive occasions.

 The procession starts in the Sacro Coeur Parish in Sliema.

The procession starts in the Sacro Coeur Parish in Sliema.

I offer no excuses and no apologies for this week’s Diary showing brevity in wordage but a glut in colours. Pictures speak for themselves and no amount of literary effort can possibly describe or substitute for that perceived by the eyes.

 The feast of The Assumption celebrated in Mqabba.

The feast of The Assumption celebrated in Mqabba.

I offer just a few explanations.

MalDia 06 (24-08-16) The St Joseph Band Club of Hamrun also celebrating San Gaetano.Festas, feasts and festivities of all kinds are the common heritage of every country but unique to each country. Take carnival – spread throughout the world but immediately conjuring up spectacles of Rio and San Remo – despite all the efforts of other localities, valid in their own right.

 Preparing the ground fireworks spectacle.

Preparing the ground fireworks spectacle.

Fireworks displays are also a global manifestation, particularly around the New Year and one conjures up Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tower Bridge in London. Maltese parishes cannot compete in quantity but they can surely compete in quality, an astounding array of musically synchronised ground fireworks (a Malta speciality) and aerial displays.

 Drapes at Vittoriosa.

Drapes at Vittoriosa.

The bulk of these have now shifted to the smaller villages of Mqabba and Qrendi, and to some extent Luqa, when in previous years the annual highlight was normally the display at Lija.

 The Parish of Our Saviour in Lija bedecked with lights.

The Parish of Our Saviour in Lija bedecked with lights.

Ar Qrendi recently, three German pyro-technicians on holiday in Malta joined to give a helping hand and one expressed her astonishment at the magnificent array and said that back in Germany they cannot even begin to compete with such dedication and quality.

 Hanging drapes, beautiful when photographed in black and white.

Hanging drapes, beautiful when photographed in black and white.

There are two other distinctive factors that make Maltese festas outstanding; the external street decorations and the particularly brilliant quality display at Vittoriosa (in Maltese known as ‘Birgu’, a corruption of the word ‘Borgo’ and the first base that the Knights of St John settled into on arrival at the start of the 16th Century) for the feast of St Lawrence on 10th August.

 Celestial stars at Lija.

Celestial stars at Lija.

The other is brass band street marches with a riot of colour at Hamrun for the feast of San Gaetano and at Zabbar for the feast of Our Lady of Graces.

 Rival bands face off against each other at Zabbar for the feast of Our Lady of Graces.

Rival bands face off against each other at Zabbar for the feast of Our Lady of Graces.

Rivalry and pique is endless and no matter how large or small, the same volume of per capita dedication and enthusiasm is very evident. A combination of solemn religious processions with beautifully manufactured statues, a myriad of street lights intricately displayed, street decor of banners, flags and an assortment of drapes, ground and aerial fireworks displays and band marches make the Maltese and Gozitan festa a surely unique occasion – hard to find anywhere else.

 Ground fireworks extravaganza.

Ground fireworks extravaganza.

Needless to say alcohol and refreshing drinks flow freely and fast food and confectionery vendors do a bomb.

 Even more synchronised ground fireworks.

Even more synchronised ground fireworks.

Let the pictures speak for themselves.

ALBERT FENECH

 the Vittoriosa streets.

the Vittoriosa streets.

 

 Our Lady of Victories, Senglea on 8th September.

Our Lady of Victories, Senglea on 8th September.

 

 Vittoriosa street.

Vittoriosa street.

 

 The St Gaetano Band Club march followers of Hamrun on a Sunday morning.

The St Gaetano Band Club march followers of Hamrun on a Sunday morning.

 

 Vittoriosa street lanterns.

Vittoriosa street lanterns.

 

 

About 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 but still retained his roots by actively pursuing freelance journalism and broadcasting for various media outlets covering social issues, current affairs, sports and travel.