The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Watch: Thousands fill St Julian’s to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, colourful costumes and characters

Mathias Mallia Thursday, 17 March 2016, 19:57 Last update: about 7 years ago

St Patrick's Day is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. This feast has become a staple in Malta growing larger every year with the hub of celebrations being all over the St Julian's area.

The Malta Independent went around the entertainment hub of the island and spoke to a number of people celebrating. Incidentally, we didn't find one Irish person among the thousands of people, both young and old, crowding the area.

Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.

Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption.

TMI also looked for the most flamboyantly dressed of the party-goers and many did not disappoint; from green wigs and make-up to full on shamrock suits and leprechaun costumes. The traditional music was done away with to be replaced by modern party music, and the traditional Irish drink which is an image of the festival has largely also been replaced.

Among the many comments we got from the people celebrating the holiday, we had people who have been celebrating for years on end as well as newcomers to the phenomenon. There were private parties being organised, as well as expansions of parties which have been going on for years.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Modern celebrations have been greatly influenced by those of Irish descent, particularly those in North America. In recent years, there has been criticism of Saint Patrick's Day celebrations for having become too commercialised and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish.

As TMI found out, Malta is clearly no exception to the international celebrations as we were told repeatedly by a number of people that it seems to genuinely be growing every single year. The video with comments and celebrations can be seen above. 

Video and photos: James Bianchi


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