Maltese Festa – Viva San Pietru!


I was recently back in my home town on Malta for the week of the village festa. This is a week of celebrations centred on Saint Peter, who is the patron saint of my village, Birzebbuga. His life is celebrated with music, fireworks, decoration in the streets, family reunions and a general feeling of celebration throughout our little fishing village.

Malta Gozo 2009 (45)One of the most moving events is when one of the statues (yes we have at least 4!) is brought on a boat across the bay. Other fishing and pleasure boats of parishioners accompany this boat and the brass band welcomes St Peter on the shore with lively marches. It is a lovely moment when we remember that Peter was a fisherman like so many of our ancestors in Birzebbuga.

The festa reaches it climax on Sunday with a solemn mass in the church after which the main statue of Saint Peter makes a tour of the main streets of the village. It is always a sad moment when the statue returns back to the church and after a final firework display goes inside to rest till next year.

Malta Gozo 2009 (60)One of the reasons that I love Saint Peter so much is that I can relate to him. He is portrayed as flawed and very human in the scriptures. Yet his love of Jesus wins the day in the end. I pray this for myself and for all my fellow Birzebbugin. May our love of Jesus never be dampened by our failings, and may it sustain us wherever life leads us. Viva San Pietru!

by Maryanne fcJ

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