Baron Gozo Blog


Posted on 07 June 2024

Baron Holiday Homes

As the month of May draws to a close, a volley of bangs made by petards being let off by the village of Munxar loudly declares the Gozo festa season open. The Munxar feast, which celebrates Saint Paul – the apostle who introduced the Christian faith to the Maltese Islands, is the first of the 15 feasts in Gozo celebrated between May and September in honour of different patron saints.

While the traditional festa has evolved throughout the years, it remains a most important religious, social and cultural celebration in Gozo’s calendar of events, uniting families and whole communities whilst giving visitors a glimpse into the identity of the island. The many elements that make the festa quintessentially Maltese, from the religious processions to the marching bands and the delightful fireworks displays, are protected through Unesco heritage status granted at the end of 2023.

If you are planning your itinerary for your next trip to Gozo, experiencing the smells, sights and sounds of a festa should rank high on your agenda. Read on to find out what to look out for to get the most of this experience.




Churches and the piazzas in front of them are all decorated for festa time. Photo: Baron Holiday Homes

At their very core, feasts are religious celebrations, with the festa week programme featuring several events that take place inside the church. The taking out of the statue of the patron saint of the locality from its niche and the Pontifical Mass accompanied by orchestral music on the actual feast day are two such events that are held dear by parishioners. The church itself is a sight to behold and well worth a visit during festa week. Much like locals dress in their Sunday best to partake in feast celebrations (a couple of decades ago moreso than nowadays), the church is clad in festive attire: rich damask adorns the interior and freshly polished ornaments glimmer underneath huge chandeliers that are lit for the occasion.  




Mqaret are a must-try when you're at a Gozo Festa. Photo: Baron Holiday Homes

Food is never far away at the festa, and the smells that waft from the food trucks and stalls add an olfactory layer to the experience. From the sweet smell of mqaret with a filling of spiced dates sizzling in scalding oil to the heavenly smell of trayfuls of pastizzi fresh out of the oven, one is bound to find a local treat that hits the spot. Whether you go for mqaret or pastizzi, be sure to have plenty of napkins handy as the paper bags in which they are served are bound to turn translucent by the time you dig in. Nougat, qubbajt in Maltese, is another popular festa sweet, which comes in two main honey and almond-based varieties. Be sure to try this sweet as an eminent Maltese folklorist once said that without nougat a feast isn’t really a feast!




Spectacular fireworks display for the Assumption of our Lady festa in Victoria, Gozo. Photo: Baron Holiday Homes

Now that you have something to munch on, find a spot to enjoy your snack and the fireworks displays. Locals will be more than happy to suggest the best vantage point from where to enjoy the aerial spectacles against the night sky. If you’re lucky enough, you might even rub elbows with a fireworks pro who’ll explain the difference between blalen, beraq and sfejjer, all of which produce different kinds of fireworks. Beyond offering a spectacle of glimmering colours and intricate shapes, fireworks bear testament to the skill and dedication festa enthusiasts put in during the year to deliver a pyrotechnic show that is the envy of the next village. While teamwork and unity are essential to the success of a festa, a little friendly rivalry between villages and band clubs goes a long way in ensuring that fireworks spectacles keep getting better year on year. Equally spectacular are the ground fireworks displays, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated in certain villages as the pyrothechics are synchronised with music.




Festa celebration in Xagħra, Gozo. Photo: LCR Snaps on Facebook

The streets look absolutely splendid during festa week, setting the perfect stage for outdoor celebrations, particularly the religious processions. Pavaljuni (large drapes of colourful cloth) stretch from side to side at intervals, while bandalori (banners bearing different saints) and antarjoli (long poles from which decorations are hung) line the streets. Houses that are situated on streets through which the religious processions pass generally add to the festive ambiance by decorating their facade or lighting up a fustun (festoon light) on the rooftop. These processions are composed of members of the clergy dressed in ceremonial vestments, a group of men carrying the statue of the patron saint, the village brass band, and parishioners.




The morning marċ in Victoria, Gozo. Photo: Baron Holiday Homes

Another important outdoor celebration during festa week is the marċ, which can be likened to a massive street party where parishioners, particularly youngsters, really let their hair down. Chants of our festa is better than yours and you’ll never catch up to us are all sung in good jest as the village brass band keeps up the tempo. For this non-religious part of the festa, elegant dresses and freshly pressed shirts are traded for more comfortable T-shirts and shorts, with the former generally bearing the colour that is associated with a particular saint or band club. Thus, from a distance, you’re likely to see a sea of red, blue or green depending on the village you are in. The marċ ta’ filgħodu (the morning march), which takes place on the actual day of the feast at around noon, is when the revelry (and at times rivalry) peaks despite the very high temperatures that characterise summer in Gozo.

Does the festa sound like one of the events in Gozo that you do not want to miss? Check out the full schedule of 2024 Gozo festa dates below.







26 May

Saint Paul’s Shipwreck


2 June

Corpus Christi


16 June

Sacred Heart of Jesus


23 June

Saint John the Baptist


29 June

Saint Peter & Saint Paul


7 July

The Visitation of Our Lady


14 July

Our Lady of Relief


21 July

Saint George


28 July

Saint Margaret

Ta’ Sannat

4 August

Saint Joseph


11 August

Saint Lawrence

San Lawrenz

15 August

The Assumption of Our Lady


25 August

The Assumption of Our Lady


1 September

Our Lady of Loreto


8 Semptember

The Nativity of Our Lady



The Baron Experience

Baron Holiday Homes presents over 90 superb rental properties on Gozo in Malta, including apartments, villas, and farmhouses, many of which boast private pools. Booking your Gozo holiday with us is straightforward, and our flexible booking policy includes a low booking deposit – you only pay the balance 15 days before arrival.

Our guests can book with confidence, as we offer a grace period and a money-back guarantee. This means you have up to 24 hours to cancel a booking (at least two days prior to the arrival date) and receive a full refund with no additional fees.

With over 25 years of experience in managing high-quality holiday homes in Gozo, Malta, we also offer a fantastic range of extra services and activities to enhance your holiday experience.

Posted in Activity, Churches, Cultural activities, Family, Festa, Fireworks, Fun, Heritage, Local, Things to do, Traditions, What to see in Gozo

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