Every year on the 8th of September, Malta celebrates Victory Day, a public holiday that holds deep historical significance. Known locally as "il-Vitorja" (the Victory), this day pays tribute to the island's rich history and its tales of resilience, courage and triumph over adversity. Whether you're visiting during the celebrations or enjoying the festivities as a Maltese local, here are all the facts you need to know about the national holiday.
What does Victory Day commemorate?
Victory Day commemorates the end of three significant sieges that have shaped the island's history – The Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the siege of Valletta by the French blockade in 1800, and the Siege of Malta during World War II in 1943. As well as celebrating these military triumphs, the day also coincides with the celebration of the Nativity of Mary, known locally as "il-Bambina" (the Baby). This celebration is particularly vibrant in the villages of Senglea, Naxxar, Mellieha, and Xagħra in Gozo, reflecting the fusion of religious and historical significance that makes Victory Day truly special.
How do locals celebrate Victory Day in Malta?
Countless cultural activities and ceremonies take place in Valletta on Victory Day, including a military parade and the President's tribute at the Great Siege Monument. Gozo also hosts its own commemorative ceremony, while town festas in Naxxar, Senglea, Mellieha, and Xagħra add to the festive spirit with processions and fireworks, open for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Another highlight of Victory Day is the traditional regatta, a boat race held in the iconic Grand Harbour. Competing teams from various districts, including Birgu, Birzebbuga, Bormla, Isla, Kalkara, Marsa, and Marsamxett showcase their rowing skills in a spirited competition that harks back to Malta's maritime heritage.
So, on the 8th of September, join the Maltese people in celebrating Victory Day and the remarkable stories of triumph that have shaped this beautiful nation.
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