UNESCO recognises Maltese festas as an Intangible Cultural Heritage

The festa is a community event of religious origin held annually in village parishes across Malta and Gozo. The main festa season in Malta starts towards the end of April and runs until the beginning of October, with multiple events taking place in different villages. Community volunteers prepare the festa throughout the year and the event itself typically lasts a week. On the final day, a statue is carried in a procession led by the clergy and accompanied by members of the parish and marching bands. Festa weeks entail concerts, band marches, firework displays and bell ringing. Typical festa food, such as nougat, is sold from street stalls. The practice is transmitted informally through participation in the preparation and events. For instance, youth learn the stories and songs of the village and its sacred figures and how to participate in the festa by attending community events. Some parishes organise a children’s festa in conjunction with the church, and children carry a smaller statue through the town. Despite its increased secularisation, the festa remains an important part of cultural heritage in Maltese villages, uniting families, outsiders and local communities in a celebration of popular religiosity and local identities.

Valletta included amongst National Geographic’s top 30 exciting destinations to visit

When describing Valletta, journalists Rory Goulding and Connor McGovern suggest to their readers to visit Valletta because it is a “UNESCO World Heritage Site” and has a “skyline of battlements and cathedral domes” which were shaped by “multinational order of knights who ruled Malta from the 16th to 18th centuries”.

“Scenic terraces are set above a glittering waterfront, where wooden townhouse balconies overhang the narrow streets — add in year-round warm weather and it’s not just filmmakers who should be inspired to visit in 2024”, they continued.

They go on to describe how it is of “little surprise that filmmakers would be impressed by Valletta” as they mention how Gladiator was filmed right here in Malta and its sequel is now filming here yet again.

“And, just as with the original, director Sir Ridley Scott has used the Mediterranean light and golden rock of Malta as his canvas for recreating ancient Rome and its arenas”.

Some of the other destinations mentioned in the article include the Atacama Desert in Chile, Nova Scotia in Canada, Sierra Leone and Sikkim in India amongst many others.

Article credits: A prestigious list! Valletta included amongst National Geographic’s top 30 exciting destinations to visit (guidememalta.com
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