The traditional Regatta

The Regatta is a Traditional Rowing Event that has been held in Malta since the middle ages. The first professional Rowing Challenge started in 1955.

The traditional Regatta races are national events held twice yearly, that on the 31st of March on Freedom Day to commemorate the withdrawal of the British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta in 1979, and 8th September known as Victory Day. The latter has several roots as it marks the end of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 and the end of French occupation on Malta in 1800, as well as the armistice of the Fascist regime in Italy in 1943, which saw the close of the Italian bombardment of the Maltese Islands.

The programme offers four to five hours of spectacle, with the best crews forming part of the rowing teams from the cities bordering the Grand Harbour. Cospicua, Kalkara, Marsa, Marsamxett (Valletta), Senglea, Vittoriosa and also Birzebbuga, participate in 10 races under two different categories using typical traditional Maltese boats like the ‘frejgatini’, ‘kajjikki’ and ‘dghajjes tal-pass and tal-midalji’. These boats were traditionally normal working watercraft which plied the local harbour.
Over the years these boats have evolved into racing craft with certain modifications. These are also examined and weighed before the start of and end of the races. The first three placings in each race are awarded a number of points and at the end of the Regatta, the club with the highest number of points, in the respective categories, is presented with the Aggregrate Shield.

In the past small flags in different colours were tied to the forestems of racing boats for purposes of recognition. The colours were allotted by the Collector of Customs. Colours have changed considerably over the years. Today the clubs can be recognised by their traditional colours which include Birzebbuga (Red-White-Blue), Cospicua (Light Blue), Kalkara (Green), Marsa (Red-Blue), Marsamxett (Valletta) (Yellow), Senglea (Red-Yellow), and Vittoriosa (Red).

The 1,040 metre race course is set up in the Valletta Grand Harbour where the magnificent Fort St Angelo provides an imposing backdrop to the sleek and colourful Maltese boats. A good crowd of spectators and supporters converge along the waterfront and the surrounding bastions to watch the races, which is sure to be a colourful and spectacular event worth watching. The races can be viewed from the water edge of the three cities (Birgu, Cospicua, and Senglea) or Valletta.

The local village festa

There is no better way to mingle with the locals than at the Maltese village festa (or feast). The Maltese love their patron saints and the village festas, being primarily a religious celebration, are held in their honour every year.

Each village celebrates a different patron saint or two depending on the number of churches in the locality. Each church is dedicated to a different saint. For this reason, some villages celebrate more than one festa per year.

Organised by the village band clubs and the parish members , the village festa is an event that all stakeholders work throughout the year to put together.

The competition between the band clubs can be quite fierce when it comes to the organisation of decorations and the fireworks shows, even if there is only one festa in the village.

It gets even tougher when the locality celebrates two different patron saints, each honoured by an individual band club.

The festas are held over the summer months. This is a time of great merriment for the local community coupled with a lot of traditions and customs and things can get really noisy and loud 😊

View festa calendar : https://www.visitmalta.com/en/village-festas

The Famous Maltese Ġbejna

Ġbejna (plural ġbejniet) are cheeselets made in the Maltese Islands from goat’s or sheep’s milk. They are prepared and served in a variety of forms: pickled, salted, peppered, covered in herbs, dried or plain, fresh cheeselets.

Legend has it that sea water was used as a curdling agent for these cheeselets. The ġbejna is a key ingredient in Maltese dishes varying from soups, to sandwiches, as an appetizer, as a condiment and sometimes even in sweets.

Prior to Malta’s accession to the EU, the EU accepted Malta’s request to protect the traditional ġbejna as a traditional sole product of the Maltese Islands!

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