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The Feast of St. Joseph in Malta


Every year on 19th March, as the island of Malta prepares to welcome the blossom of spring, a vibrant celebration takes place the Feast of St. Joseph. This religious and cultural event has deep roots in Maltese history, captivating both locals and visitors alike with street parties, fireworks and much more. Read on to learn all about the public holiday and how you can join the celebrations this year.


What is the history behind the Feast of St. Joseph?


Known as San Ġużepp in Maltese, the Feast of St. Joseph has its origins deeply embedded in religion. St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ, is the patron saint of workers, fathers, and the universal Church. The feast has been celebrated for centuries in Malta, and other Catholic countries such as Poland and Italy, with its roots traced back to the medieval period. It's always celebrated during Lent



Where is the Feast of St. Joseph celebrated in Malta?


While the towns and villages of Malta all put their unique spin on the festivities, the biggest celebration for the Feast of St. Joseph takes place in Mdina. The celebrations traditionally start a week before the 19th March, with churches holding special religious services and ceremonies. On the day, the focal point is the procession, where a statue of St. Joseph is carried towards the church of Saint Mary of Jesus, accompanied by a marching band. Islanders dressed in traditional attire walk beneath balconies and houses draped with handmade decorations and colourful banners, and the evening often concludes with an exciting fireworks display.


What foods do you eat on the Feast of St. Joseph in Malta?


Food is an important part of the celebration, with traditional Maltese treats like zeppoli or sfingi sold by street vendors. These deep-fried pastries, often drizzled with honey or dusted with powdered sugar, are popular among locals and visitors alike, offering a taste of Maltese gastronomic heritage.



Is the Feast of St. Joseph a public holiday in Malta?


Yes, the Feast of St. Joseph is a public holiday, so schools and the majority of businesses will be closed. It's common for people to spend the day relaxing with friends and family and enjoying picnics outside – as well as attending the nearby processions and parades. Want to enjoy the atmosphere by heading out and about on 19th March? Plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes remain open to serve revellers on their day off.


Whether you're visiting, living or working in Malta, the Feast of St. Joseph is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture – and one you definitely won't regret.


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