time to explore with esplora

'jum il-vitorja' victory day

the traditional maltese regatta

Words by Hannah Brincat

It is popularly known that the Maltese Islands carry with them a lot of history and many traditions, which were passed down through the ages. One of the most iconic celebrations is Victory day, which is celebrated on 8 September.

It commemorates the end of the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottoman Empire in 1565, the Siege of Valletta in 1800 by the French and the Siege of Malta during the Second World War by the Italian army, which ended in 1943. It also marks the withdrawal of the Royal Navy from the Maltese Islands in 1979.

The 8 September is also heavily celebrated in several villages across the island, as it commemorates the birth of The Virgin Mary within the Roman Catholic Belief.

Locally, the feast is referred to as ‘il-Bambina’ and ‘il-Vittorja’. Lastly comes the famous tradition of the Maltese Regatta. The Regatta is comprised of several boat races held in Malta’s Grand Harbour. The Maltese Regatta takes place bi-annually, once on 31 March and another time on 8 September. It lasts for around 4-5 hours and is very heavily attended by the Maltese population. 

Apart from the natural competitiveness that comes with siding with a particular team, the Regatta boasts a beautiful setting seeing Malta’s Grand Harbour and all of the surrounding cities.

Apart from the traditional village feats and the regatta, other activities take place in Malta’s capital city, Valletta. On the 7 September, several events take place at Great Siege Square. 

Artistic performances and traditional music are celebrated as part of our Maltese culture and its strength shown by its perseverance over time. A parade also takes place in Valletta by the Armed Forces of Malta in salute to the Prime Minister of Malta.

As of last year, Heritage Malta also began organising a set of events related to Victory Day. They coordinated two masses and one commemoration, to continue to add to the already rich celebrations of the Maltese victory. The 8 September is one of the most popular feasts on the islands. Showing exactly how proud the Maltese population is to always have come out on top. 

Irrelevant of the size of the island and the number of citizens it holds, it always managed to fight for what belonged to it. One can only hope that such traditions will always remain so strong, for they show newer generations the pain and resilience that our ancestors endured in order to bring respect to their country and safety to the generations of the future.