Nadur Festa 2017
It’s difficult to be a bystander as you move with the sea of people dragging you with them, arms around each other, water, sweat, tears of joy, and a cacophony of cheering, chanting and music.
It’s Festa season in Malta and Gozo, and this means only one thing…. There are going to be a lot of fireworks.
I am lucky enough to live in the town square of Nadur and every year this place transforms from a ‘quiet little village’ into a week long street party. Friends and family dress to the nines and get together to celebrate the martyrdom of St Peter & St Paul. The week begins with the transformation of the square. Flag poles are erected, a stage built, and all the local vendors start to set up their wares outside. Everyday something new is added. I would come back from work and find the square had changed slightly, whether it had been new flags, statues, or even more fireworks.
Each evening had some sort of event happening. It is important to note that this is a religious celebration so most evenings were made up of going to church and watching a procession or two, but in the final two days religion seemed to have no part to play and everyone let their hair down, threw away their inhibitions, and partied hard.
Each year Malta and Gozo spend a lot of money on fireworks, and during festa season you can see that no expense was spared. The night before the ‘main day’ we were treated to a huge fireworks display of which hundreds of people sat and watched while indulging in a local beer and a hotdog or two.
The celebrations start early and you can feel the buzz in the air as everyone gathers in and around the square in their festa themed T-shirts (I managed to buy mine a few days before out the back of someones car). Then most people start to make their way towards a procession consisting of a small float that is slowly making it’s way towards the square.
This is where the party is at. All around you there is a sea of red and yellow. The people are jumping, dancing, and singing along to the music provided by a marching band. Yellow and red streamers, banners, balloons are everywhere, and the joy on people faces is contagious. It’s difficult to be a bystander as you move with the sea of people dragging you with them, arms around each other, water, sweat, tears of joy, and a cacophony of cheering, chanting and music.
Once we reach the square the atmosphere peaks with even more fireworks. The crowd seems to double and the band plays a few more songs… then unexpectedly the noise dies down, the steamers start to settle and the crowd slowly starts to leave the square. Some go to the band club, some take the party to the beach and some like me go home to take a nap.
Once I awoke, I looked out of my window to see that most of the rubbish from the festa had been cleaned up, and the sea of red and yellow T-shirts had been replaced by the same people in their smartest clothes. I released everyone was on their way to church. The bells rang out for almost 20 minutes and most people went home soon after.
If you ever come to Gozo or Malta during the summer then you must try to come to at least one festa. There is one in every village and you can find dates and timetables online. It’s an experience I will never forget and I’m sure I will be doing it again!
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