Malta Public Holidays

General Information About Each Public Holiday In Malta

Malta public holidays have a special significance for these islands. They commemorate specific events that marked dramatic change in our history either religious or historical events.

They are mostly linked to religious feasts dating back to many many years of tradition.

At the end of the eighties the government of the time added various important dates to Malta public holidays.

10th February - Feast of St. Paul

It is said and mentioned in the Catholic bible that St. Paul landed in Malta on his way to Rome during a heavy storm back to A.D. 60. The Roman vessel was shipwrecked on our islands shores due to a very heavy storm.

He remained here for three months through the winter where he met Publius the Romans’ chief man on the island. At the time the Maltese were pagan but Publius converted to Christianity and St. Paul made him the first bishop of the islands. 

The Maltese chose this day as a remembrance of his visit. After so many centuries St. Paul remained very much loved by the local people and has been part of Malta public holidays for many years.

31st March - Freedom day

This important milestone was achieved during 1979 when the complete withdrawal of the British troops and Royal Navy marines left the island.

This was an important milestone in the islands history. For so many centuries the islands were dominated by many foreign countries.

The Freedom Day monument is located at Birgu. It commemorates this event very close to the location where the last troops left the island.

7th June - Sette Giugno

A commemoration of the riots by the Maltese during the British rule that took place on 7th June 1919. After World War l there were price hikes which angered the workers. Many riots took place in Valletta against British departments, and against local food importers for their excessive prices on commodities on which they made excessive profits. 

The Maltese wanted to have some sort of representative government through which they could communicate their needs by starting to upgrade the living state of the population.

Four Maltese people were killed in Valletta by British troops. After this event the British started making further changes and letting the Maltese Assembly be responsible of local affairs.

Sette Guigno is an Italian words translated in 7th June since at the time the Italian language had a promenance.

This important day was considered as the first step towards the island’s independence process from the British rulers and included as one of Malta public holidays.

29th June - Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul

It is a religious feast dedicated and celebrated since before the time of the Knights of St. John meaning before 1530.

It is more of a pleasure feast than a religious one. It takes place at the Buskett gardens on the outskirts of Rabat close to Dingli where various activiites take place. From exhibitions by farmers and heardsmen, to competitions.

All starts from the early evening of the day before well into the night where many remain there and sleep under the trees. The Maltese love this feast and they go with enthusiasm.

Improvised restaurants around the various orchards within this garden attract many locals to eat rabbit stew which is one of the national dishes.

There are exhibitions by farmers where through a competition they exhibit their best fruits and vegetables apart from various animals like cows, pigs, hens, rabbits are brought over for the competition.

The feast extends through the night with local Ghana singing which is local folk music.

In the morning of the 29th many people flock again to the gardens to see the exhibits and the prices giving of the winners.

In the afternoon at Rabat, very close to Buskett gardens, at the Saqqajja Hill, there are the horse and donkey races where many people attend every year. 

15th August dedicated to the Assumption of Mary

It is officially the feast of the Assumption of Mary in the religious calendar. For the Maltese it is known as the Santa Maria feast. It is highly celebrated at the peak of the summer season. Eight village feasts celebrated together and also a public holiday culminating in many shutdowns during the days of August.

It is the time when the Maltese take leave for holidays both in Malta and abroad, not the least to Gozo where the feast is also celebrated in Victoria an opportunity for a weekend getaway and heast celebrations.

If you love feasts, fireworks, colourful decorated villages steeets, band marches, churches in their best vestments, here you can enjoy. The Maltese love celebrating. Lots of noise and rivalry between villages, so many things that makes it a special feast for every village which takes so much preparation all year round.

It is a religious feast where celebrations are held in all Maltese churches especially those who are celebrating the feast of their village patron saint.

21st September - Independence Day

The independence monument in front of the Mall Gardens Floriana

After so many centuries of domination, the Maltese succeeded to acquire with so much sacrifice the Independence from the British Empire.

The Maltese flag was raised for the first time as its national flag. The celebrations were held at the Independence Arena, Floriana very close to the nonument which commemorates this event.

From this day Malta became an independent state as a Constitutional Monarchy. The queen of England Elizabeth ll became the head of state. This changed when the next step.

8th December - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

It is a celebration for three specific victories.

When the Knights of St. John won the great battle, known as the Great Siege against the Turkish invaders in 1565.

The rebellion against the French occupation of Malta which ended on 4th September 1800.

Italy during World War ll surrendered at the end of 1943.

The traditional regatta (boat races) are held every year on this day where villages around the port area compete between them with in the Grand Harbour which is well attended.

13th December - Republic Day

13th December monument at the centre of Marsa road

In 1979 Malta became a Republic. The Queen of England which was up till then the Head of State for Malta. This was brought about by further negotiations with the British government, by the then Labour Party and Dom Mintoff as Prime Minister for a complete independence of the Maltese people.

From this day forward the first Maltese president was chosen by parliament from among the most distinguished person for a term of five years.

Gieh ir-Repubblika is the annual honouring ceremony at the President’s palace Valletta where important distinguished persons and even foreigner who have contributed and honoured the Maltese people.

25th December - Christmas day

It is the commemoration when Jesus Christ was born. Christmas is so special on these island. It is celebrate by everyone from young to old. Decorations, shopping, celebrations, processions carrying Baby Jesus and singing Christmas carols around the village streets. This is the time of family get together.

Sliema a village in Malta decorated for christmas

During this day, if you are here in Malta, you will notice that the streets are almost deserted as it is the time for the family to meet for Sunday Lunch at each other’s houses or our to restaurants and hotels. In the morning many go to church mass and afterwords join family or friends to celebrate.

It has become customery to go to local hotels for two nights during these days and join the celbrations with tourists and all.

In Guardia parade at fort St Elmo Valletta

Malta Public Holidays a useful informative page about our islands.

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