31st March 2019 is an important day for the Maltese Archipelago and the locals know that as they are thought since they were a child the importance of it.
However, many tourists in Malta during that day wonder why most of the shops are closed, the country is alive more than any other days and the television is all about Freedom Day.
While the public enjoys having another paid public holiday, freedom day is about a lot more than that.
Sit Back, hold tight, and let us explain why it is important and what will happen during the Freedom day 2019 for you to be part and enjoy the day.
Image Source: Independent
As the name says, in this day the Maltese celebrate the anniversary of the withdrawal of British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta back in 1979.
What makes this year more beautiful festivity is that it’s the 40 year anniversary.
The efforts started in 1971 when the Labour Government started to re-negotiate the lease agreement between Malta and the United Kingdom.
The tense talks lead to the lease to be extended till 1979, however with a huge increase in rent paid by the British.
That meant that at the end of March 1979, the British left the island and for the first time the Maltese Archipelago wasn’t used by foreign nations as a military base.
This was the final step of the Maltese to be the only holders of the country after gaining independence in 1964 from the British.
While the celebrations are dispersed all around the country, we will have a look at these activities.
Freedom Memorial in Birgu
The memorial in Birgu is dedicated solely for this event and the main activity happens around this memorial.
The activity includes a speech from the President of Malta with the media present and celebrations occur together with a band and a march of honor for those who fought for the freedom of the country.
This memorial was designed by the highly esteemed local sculptor Antonio Agius at the orders of the then prime minister and pioneer for the freedom, Dom Mintoff.
Image Source: Trip Advisor
War Memorial in Floriana
Just like the activities in Birgu, festivities are pretty much formal as they continue after the Birgu memorial.
The memorial was inaugurated on 11 November 1938 by Governor Bonham-Carter to celebrate the lives of those who fought and died for the country during World War 1.
In 1949, the memorial was re-inaugurated for both Wars. The obelisk is positioned in the exact position where the order of St. John used to execute in front of the public.
The idea of the memorial is to thank the island for its role during the World War 1 victory by King George VI together with the renowned George Cross on the flag.
The regatta is a local sport which is fought by different coastline villages in getting the boat from the Grand Harbour to the Cottonera.
The Regatta happens on the Freedom Day and Victory Day on the 8th of September to celebrate the Turks leaving the country.
The competition is more of commemoration as teams, especially Birgu, Bormla and Isla train all year long to win and is sought to be the most prestigious competition in the Maltese sport.
Another important part of the regatta is the Siege Bell War Memorial situated at the Grand Harbour in the Capital City, Valletta.
This memorial was built in 1992 to honor the 7,000 people of Malta who perished between 1940 and 1943. The bell weighs 10 tons and is made of bronze. The bell rings every day at noon.
Freedom Day Schedule
Image Source: Malta Today
So after explaining how freedom day 2019 will be celebrated. What is the schedule for Freedom Day 2019? Here’ s recap.
- Celebrations start in Bormla or as also known as, Cospicua. Were the National Leaders will put wreaths in the monument. The band will march and play during the memorial.
- Then services will be attended in the Floriana War Memorial where the bouquet of flowers will be placed in the foot of the monument.
- Finally, the Regatta kick starts in the Grand Harbour to the 3 cities. The winner will win the Regatta Shield.
With the Freedom Day 2019 schedule, you should be ready to immerse with the locals and celebrate together with them this important day.
Freedom Day is not the only traditional festivity in the country in March. Have a look at our article about what to expect during Carnival 2019.
If you are looking to come for a holiday in Malta, look at our luxury hotel rooms available in March.