Traveling is more than just visiting different countries – to me, it means getting to know cultures, new people and their habits. And it’s always interesting how different traditions and rites are already in Europe.
In August, I was able to delete another issue on my bucket list: joining the Feast of Assumption on the islands of Malta and Gozo. The feast is very popular in many southern countries, but Malta is famous for its spectacular celebrations! The main part of the ceremony take place on August 15th, but the days before are also worth seeing. All churches are covered in chain of lights and also the streets are decorated with statues of saints, flags and even more lights. Every town has its own colors, motives and style. People are dressed in t-shirts with churches and saints on it. The first time I saw other participants in those shirt, I thought they were attending a football game and it took a second look to figure it out…
The whole celebration starts already in the evening of August 14th. There were seven big and really amazing fireworks which took at least one and a half hour. Together with the colorful lighted cities, this was a truly unforgettable experience! Afterwards some cities continue with mechanical fireworks. Mosta is a town situated in the middle of Malta and well-known for its dome (the third largest unsupported one in the world) – which is dedicated to the Assumption and therefore very popular for its feast among locals and tourists. So we decided to join the celebrations there, listened to the brass band in the streets and enjoyed a spectacular ground firework.
The feast reaches its culmination on the day of the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. On August 15th, the beautiful and devoted statue of Saint Mary is taken out on a procession around the streets of the villages. Hymns and prayers follow the procession the whole day, and the feast end at night when the statue is back in its place in the church. Apart from religious rituals, these celebrations are more like a fair with lots of great food, music and quite unusual activities like a horse races through the towns. Therefore the feast of the Assumption is a truly unique experience you shouldn’t miss!