The skies of the small Island of Malta are accustomed to lighting up with fireworks throughout the year. Firework displays in Malta are an old tradition and a main feature of celebrations in villages and towns around Malta. Its long history goes back to the time of the Order of the Knights of St John, when in 1530 the Island was occupied by Grand Master Fra’ Philippe de Villiers de l’Isle Adam, and granted to the Order by Charles V and approval by the Pope. The Order of St. John was born around 1048 for the purpose of building hospitals to care for pilgrims. The Order adopted the white eight-pointed cross which is still a Maltese symbol even today after 250 years of the rule of the Order in Malta.
The Order of St. John was conventional but became militarized to defend the sick and the pilgrims. The order used to mark special occasions and welcome ceremonies for dignitaries with a three gun salute fired into the air.
Today’s tradition of complex pyrotechnics and fireworks across the Island is very much alive and an all year round practice which have its roots in musket fire and cannon shots. There are over 30 firework factories on the island which provide hundreds of simple, firing crackers to mechanized and rotating gas tubes, to as many as 70 villages and towns whose displays are part of their local tradition and celebrations.
Since Malta joined the European Union, the Ministry for Tourism and Malta Tourism Authority have organized an annual International Fireworks Festival. The 14th edition of this festival took place over three nights during the period 25th April to 2nd May. One in the charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk, one in Valletta’s Grand Harbor and the final one in the touristic hub of Bugibba.
The festival has gained an international status, attracting pyrotechnic companies from all over the world to compete and showcase their technical creativity by putting together synchronized musical fireworks displays. Over the years, International participants from Australia, Canada, Venezuela, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal and the UK have joined the race to win a special trophy. The United Kingdom got the highest points and won the trophy in 2014. In this year’s competition, the international competitors were from Thailand and Italy. 2015 winners in International and National level competitions have not yet been announced.
It was a great experience for me to watch these spectacular fireworks, particularly in the village of Marsaxlokk. Here they held firework exhibitions, and both locals and tourists gathered on the streets, listening to musicians and children got their faces painted and played games along the seafront. Maltese traditional nougat was on sale and restaurants brought their barbecue stands into the middle of the promenade.
If you are visiting Malta between June and September, you will be sure to witness spectacular firework displays across the island every weekend in addition to many other sightseeing places in Malta’s main island and the Island of Gozo.
Air Malta operates an extensive year-round scheduled service of up to 26 flights per week from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester with fares from as little as £75 one way, inclusive of taxes and 20kgs of baggage. Air Malta also operate regional Summer charter flights from Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Newcastle, Exeter, Norwich and Glasgow. For more information visit www.airmalta.com
Reza stayed in the Corinthia, St. George’s Bay with a very unique Mediterranean setting. Standing at the top of a rocky highland overlooking the picturesque bay and with views of the sea. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of shops, resturants, clubs and cinemas and only a 20 minute drive to Valleta, the capital of Malta. The rates vary from €115 in low season to €330 in high season. (visit www.corinthia.com)
You can find more images of The Fireworks by visiting http://www.amirinia.com/malta.