Summer in Malta is the season of the village festa - an annual religious celebration that pays homage to the patron saint (or saints) of the town.
In Birgu, August is marked by the feasts of St Lawrence and St Dominic, and as July draws to a close, preparations are well underway ahead of the first feast of the month.
Traditionally, it is said that most probably Birgu began patronising St Lawrence sometime between 1283 and 1410, during the rule of the Aragons, where the Saint was born. This was presumably brought about both by Aragon and local sailors, whose ships would sail to and from the Iberian Peninsula. Devotion to this Saint became so strong that during the subsequent years, one of the churches in this city was dedicated to this Saint, and later the parish was started around it.
On the arrival of the Order of St John in 1530, who had a large number of prominent Spanish members, the feast in his honour in the church dedicated to him in Vittoriosa were held solemnly. These were celebrated by the Great Prior of the Order with three masses, a vigil and an octave.
The local band club, in collaboration with members of the parish, is tasked with organizing all preparations ahead of the big celebrations. As flags are raised, banners unfurled and garlands hung, this centuries-old tradition is brought to life and a piece of Maltese heritage celebrated.
Feast of St Lawrence - 9, 10 August // Feast of St Dominic - 24, 25 August