Many tourists visiting Malta, and expats living on the island, are surprised with the high number of public holidays that there is in Malta.
There are 14 public holidays in Malta, all of which are government approved holidays, where most business shut and the day is spent with friends and family.
In this post, we are going to be looking at the first seven, of the fourteen public holidays on the island; their meaning and significance, and why they are celebrated here.
We’ll be moving chronologically from the 1st January (New Year’s Day), all the way down to December 25th, Christmas Day.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN MALTA EXPLAINED PART 1
1ST OF JANUARY – NEW YEAR’S DAY
As is most likely the case all around the world, the 1st of January is a public holiday in the Maltese islands – to celebrate the beginning of what is, according to the Gregorian calendar, the first day of the new year.
10TH FEBRUARY – ST. PAUL’S SHIPWRECK
This public holiday celebrates the arrival of St. Paul to Malta, when he was shipwrecked on the island around 60 AD, bringing to the island the new religion known as “Catholicism”.
We’ve written a detailed post on this event on our blog not too long ago, so give that a look to find out more about one of Malta’s most celebrated holidays.
19TH MARCH – THE FEAST OF ST. JOSEPH
This day is celebrated throughout the Western Christian world, in remembrance of St Joseph, who was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father to Jesus.
Being such a religious country, many of the public holidays in Malta have come through the celebration of Christian holidays such as this one.
31ST MARCH – FREEDOM DAY
Freedom day in Malta is not to be confused with the Maltese Independence Day.
Freedom day is when the last of the British troops withdrew from Malta, leaving the island to be self-governed by its people.
This occasion, which happened on the 31st of March 1971, marked the first time in over a thousand years where Malta was not a military base for a foreign power.
MARCH / APRIL – GOOD FRIDAY
The exact data of this holiday varies from year to year, depending on the arrival of Easter. It is also part of the Western Christian traditional holidays commemorating Good Friday, the death of Jesus Christ and his rise three days later on Easter Sunday.
The occasion is marked in the Maltese islands with various processions happening in towns and cities across Malta and Gozo.
If you’re on the island during this time, you may want to catch one of these processions, as they are truly a unique experience.
1ST MAY – LABOUR DAY
The 1st of May (or Labour day) is the Maltese celebration of International Worker’s Day.
This day commemorates and celebrates the working class of the country.
It also marks the legal establishment of the eight-hour working day.
7TH JUNE – SETTE GIUGNO
This is a bit of sombre holiday in Malta, as it marks a dark event in Malta’s history, which occurred on this same day way back in 1919. On that day, riots broke out again the British Empire due to the lack of resources arriving on the island.
These riots resulted in British troops firing into the crowd, killing four men and injuring many others. Nowadays, we remember these fallen soldiers by dedicating the 7th of June to these brave souls.
This has been part 1 of the list of Public Holidays in Malta. To see the remaining seven holidays, check out part 2 here.