The Malta Independent 23 February 2020, Sunday

Victory Day Activities

Malta Independent Saturday, 9 September 2006, 00:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

Several activities were held on Thursday and yesterday to mark Victory Day. Valletta was buzzing with activity yesterday as both traditional and unusual events blended in a unique way to mark the National Day.

Besides the traditional laying of wreaths and regatta, this year saw the re-exhumation of the long lost custom of giving a 19-shot salute from the saluting battery at the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

The salute was performed by the re-enactment team of the Fundazzjoni Wirt Artna who delighted the onlooking crowd with their 19th Century costumes and their military precision. Another unusual site was the practising session of the Aero GP planes hovering over Valletta, which reminded senior spectators of the dogfights between the Royal Air Force aircraft and the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Malta, which ending was celebrated yesterday.

The 8 September liturgical feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary was always close at heart for the Maltese, both because of its religious significance, and connotations acquired through intertwining with the history of Malta after the Ottomans’ surrender in the 1565 Great Siege and Italy’s capitulation in 1943, which de facto ended Malta’s direct involvement in World War II.

On Thursday morning, the Kumitat Festi Nazzjonali laid wreaths at Fort Sant Angelo in Birgu, the Victory monument in Senglea and at the Marija Addolorata Cemetery in Paola.

In the evening, the Armed Forces of Malta Band marched along Republic Street and delivered a musical programme in front of the Great Siege monument at the Great Siege Square. The following musico-literary evening, under the patronage of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi saw the participation of Stella Maris College students who gave a representation of the Great Siege.

The activity was brought to a conclusion with the laying of wreaths at the foot of the monument by the prime minister, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the leader of the opposition, distinguished persons and constituted bodies.

Yesterday morning, the Armed Forces of Malta Band and the Guard of Honour marched from Christ the King’s monument in Floriana, through Republic Street and stopped at St John’s Square. After inspecting the Guard of Honour, President Edward Fenech Adami attended a Pontifical High Mass concelebrated by the Archbishop of Malta Mgr Joseph Mercieca at St John’s Co-Cathedral, followed by the singing of the Te Deum. Afterwards, the President laid a wreath at the foot of the Great Siege Monument.

In the afternoon, the traditional regatta took place at the Grand Harbour, which this year was provided with the backdrop of two cruise liners. The district of Marsamxett-Valletta was the winner of this year’s regatta after the team dominated the event. Seven districts participated in this year’s regatta: Birgu (Vittoriosa), Bormla (Cospicua), Kalkara, Senglea, Marsa and winners Marsamxett-Valletta. The teams competed in 15 races. Tourism and Culture Minister Francis Zammit Dimech presented the shield to the winning team.

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