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Celebrating The Festa Of St. George In Qormi, Malta


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Robyn Bautista



Welcome to the vibrant and culturally rich city of Qormi, nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean island of Malta. Known for its deep-rooted traditions and festive spirit, Qormi comes alive every year with fervor and excitement during the Festa of St. George. This annual celebration, held in honor of the patron saint of Qormi, attracts visitors from near and far to experience the unique blend of religious devotion, colorful processions, traditional music, and mouthwatering delicacies.


The Festa of St. George is not just a religious event; it is a deeply cherished cultural tradition that holds immense significance to the people of Qormi. It provides an opportunity for locals to showcase their heritage, reinforce their community bonds, and express their unwavering devotion to their patron saint, St. George.


Throughout this article, we will take you on a fascinating journey through the history, traditions, and celebrations of the Festa of St. George in Qormi. We will delve into the preparations that go into making this event truly remarkable, explore the vibrant decorations and illuminations that adorn the streets, and give you a taste of the delectable traditional food that is savored during this festive period. So, buckle up and get ready to immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of the Festa of St. George!


History of the Festa of St. George

The origins of the Festa of St. George can be traced back to the 17th century when Qormi faced a severe drought. Desperate for rain, the people of the city turned to their patron saint, St. George, for help. They fervently prayed for his intercession, promising that if rain was granted, they would hold an annual celebration in his honor.


Legend has it that following their heartfelt prayers, a heavy rainstorm drenched the parched lands of Qormi. In gratitude for the answered prayers, the people fulfilled their vow by organizing the first Festa of St. George. This marked the beginning of a tradition that has been lovingly upheld and celebrated for centuries.


Since then, the Festa of St. George has evolved into a grand and elaborate celebration, deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of Qormi. It serves as a reminder not only of the city’s religious devotion but also of the unity and resilience of its people in the face of adversity.


Over the years, the Festa has grown in popularity, attracting visitors from all over Malta and beyond. It has become an occasion for locals to reconnect with their roots, as well as an opportunity to showcase Qormi’s rich history and traditions to the world.


Notably, the year 2020 marked a significant milestone for the Festa of St. George, as it celebrated its 400th anniversary. Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, the people of Qormi found innovative ways to commemorate this momentous occasion, blending virtual events with scaled-down physical celebrations to ensure the continuity of this beloved tradition.


The Festa of St. George stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the people of Qormi, their strong sense of community, and their unwavering devotion to St. George. It is a celebration that brings together people of all ages and backgrounds, fostering a sense of unity and pride in their shared heritage.


Significance of St. George in Qormi

St. George holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Qormi, as he is considered the patron saint of the city. His devotion and martyrdom symbolize strength, courage, and protection, values deeply ingrained in the community’s identity.


Legend has it that during the Middle Ages, Qormi was plagued by a ferocious dragon that brought destruction to its lands. The city was in desperate need of a hero to vanquish this menace and restore peace. It is believed that St. George, mounted on his white steed and armed with unwavering faith, confronted the dragon, eventually slaying it and saving the people of Qormi from its terror.


Since that fateful day, St. George has been venerated as the protector of Qormi, with the people believing that his divine intercession safeguards them from harm, both physical and spiritual. Every year, during the Festa of St. George, this unwavering devotion is beautifully demonstrated through religious processions, prayers, and the participation of local clergy.


The significance of St. George in Qormi extends beyond the religious realm. He is a symbol of unity, strength, and resilience for the people, particularly during challenging times. The shared admiration for St. George strengthens the bonds within the community, fostering a sense of belonging and collective identity.


Additionally, St. George is seen as a role model for the younger generation, exemplifying virtues such as bravery, selflessness, and dedication. His story serves as an inspiration for individuals to face their own metaphorical dragons with courage and determination.


Through the celebrations and traditions of the Festa of St. George, the people of Qormi pay homage to their patron saint, expressing their deep gratitude for his protection and guidance. The festivities serve as a reminder of the enduring legacy of St. George and his significance in the lives of the people of Qormi.


Preparations for the Festa

The Festa of St. George is a highly anticipated event in Qormi, and its preparations begin months in advance. The local community comes together to ensure that every aspect of the celebration is meticulously planned and executed, creating an unforgettable experience for residents and visitors alike.


One of the primary aspects of the preparations is the organization of the religious ceremonies. The local parish works diligently to coordinate the schedule of Masses, novenas, and processions that will take place during the Festa. The clergy and volunteers dedicate their time and effort to create a spiritual atmosphere and ensure that all the religious aspects of the celebration are carried out flawlessly.


A significant part of the preparations involves decorating the streets and buildings of Qormi. The city is transformed into a spectacle of color and lights, inviting everyone to join in the festivities. Stunning archways, adorned with flags and banners depicting St. George, line the streets, creating an enchanting ambiance. Windows and balconies are embellished with vibrant floral arrangements and religious symbols, enhancing the sense of joy and reverence.


Another key element of the preparations is the organization of musical performances and concerts. Local bands and musicians rehearse tirelessly to provide captivating live performances throughout the Festa. The sound of brass instruments fills the air as the bands march through the streets, infusing the atmosphere with energy and excitement. The music plays a vital role in adding an exuberant touch to the festivities, captivating the crowds and providing a memorable experience.


Food is an integral part of the Festa preparations as well. Traditional Maltese delicacies are prepared with love and care, showcasing the culinary heritage of Qormi. From mouthwatering pastizzi (flaky pastries filled with cheese or peas) to sumptuous rabbit stews and freshly baked bread, the aroma wafting through the streets whets the appetite of locals and visitors alike.


Lastly, community involvement is crucial in the preparations for the Festa. Local organizations, clubs, and residents come together to contribute in various ways. They help with the setup of decorations, participate in the religious processions, and organize fundraising events to support the expenses incurred during the celebrations.


The preparations for the Festa of St. George reflect the deep sense of pride and community spirit that permeates the city of Qormi. The dedication and efforts of countless individuals ensure that every detail is attended to, creating an immersive and memorable experience for all who partake in the festivities.


Traditional Decorations and Illuminations

One of the most visually striking aspects of the Festa of St. George in Qormi is the elaborate decorations and illuminations that adorn the streets and buildings. These traditional embellishments play a significant role in creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere during the celebration.


The streets of Qormi are transformed into a feast for the eyes, as colorful archways and banners depicting St. George line the thoroughfares. These archways, known as “triumphal arches,” are masterfully crafted by local artisans and adorned with intricate designs and symbols. The arches symbolize the triumph of faith and serve as a visual representation of the city’s devotion to St. George.


Windows and balconies become canvases for creativity, as residents showcase their artistic flair with elaborate decorations. Vibrant floral arrangements, religious symbols, and statues adorn these spaces, adding an extra touch of beauty and spirituality to the streets. The decorations often follow a color scheme of red and white, representing the colors associated with St. George.


Illuminations play a central role in transforming the nighttime ambiance of Qormi during the Festa. Countless twinkling lights and colorful lanterns illuminate the streets, casting a magical glow over the city. The combination of lights and decorations creates a captivating visual spectacle, drawing visitors and creating an enchanting atmosphere of celebration and joy.


Qormi’s main square, Pjazza San Ġorġ, becomes the focal point of the illuminations. It is adorned with a stunning display of lights, including illuminated arches, chandeliers, and decorative patterns. The square becomes a gathering place for locals and visitors to revel in the beauty of the illuminations while enjoying the festivities and live performances.


Throughout the Festa, the city is not only visually transformed but also filled with melodious sounds. The sounds of religious hymns and traditional Maltese music intertwine with the vibrant decorations and illuminations, creating a multisensory experience for all who attend.


The traditional decorations and illuminations of the Festa of St. George in Qormi reflect the rich cultural heritage and creativity of the local community. They serve as a testament to the city’s devotion and pride, as well as a visual feast that adds an extra dimension to the vibrant celebrations.


Religious Processions and Celebrations

The Festa of St. George in Qormi is deeply rooted in religious devotion, and one of the highlights of the celebrations is the religious processions that take place throughout the event. These processions are a significant demonstration of faith, drawing locals and visitors together to honor St. George.


The processions are led by the statue of St. George, which is beautifully crafted and adorned. The statue is a symbol of veneration and is carried through the streets of Qormi by a group of devoted individuals. The procession is accompanied by the melodious sounds of hymns and prayers, creating a solemn and reverent atmosphere.


Along the procession route, devotees gather to pay their respects and offer prayers. The streets are filled with a sense of devotion and spirituality as people join in this deeply meaningful expression of their faith. Some may kneel and pray as the procession passes by, while others hold candles or flowers as signs of their devotion.


During the Festa, several traditional religious ceremonies also take place. Novenas, daily masses, and special services are held in the local church, inviting worshippers to deepen their connection to St. George and seek his intercession. These religious ceremonies provide an opportunity for locals and visitors to reflect on their faith and find solace in the presence of their patron saint.


Alongside the religious processions and ceremonies, various celebrations are organized to commemorate the Festa of St. George. Cultural events, such as art exhibitions and craft fairs, showcase the talents and traditions of the local community. These events offer a glimpse into Qormi’s rich heritage and provide a platform for artists and artisans to display their work.


The religious processions and celebrations that form an integral part of the Festa of St. George are not only a religious occasion but also an expression of identity and community spirit. They serve as a reminder of the deep-rooted traditions and values upheld by the people of Qormi, as well as an opportunity for individuals to strengthen their faith and seek solace in the presence of their patron saint.


Music and Band Performances

Music is an integral part of the Festa of St. George in Qormi, filling the air with infectious energy and adding an exuberant touch to the celebrations. Local bands and musicians play a pivotal role in creating a lively atmosphere and captivating the hearts of the audience.


As part of the Festa, several band performances are scheduled throughout the celebration period. The bands, consisting of talented musicians, rehearse rigorously to ensure mesmerizing performances that resonate with the crowd. The deep-rooted tradition of band music in Malta is showcased at its finest during the Festa of St. George.


The band performances typically take place during the religious processions, adding a musical accompaniment to the solemnity and grandeur of the event. The bands play traditional Maltese hymns and religious melodies, creating a melodious backdrop to the procession as it winds through the streets of Qormi. The combination of the visual spectacle and the enchanting music creates a powerful emotional experience for all who witness it.


Beyond the religious processions, music also sets the tone for other festive activities during the Festa. Band stands are set up in various locations, offering exciting performances that ignite the enthusiasm of the crowd. Local bands fill the air with lively tunes, ranging from traditional folk music to contemporary hits. These performances create a joyful and celebratory atmosphere, encouraging everyone to sing, dance, and revel in the spirit of the Festa.


It is the sound of brass instruments, such as trumpets, trombones, and tubas, that characterizes the traditional Maltese band music. The bands’ repertoire often includes spirited marches, rhythmic polkas, and lively waltzes. The amalgamation of these vibrant tunes with the pride and passion of the musicians is truly captivating, evoking a sense of pride and unity among the audience.


Band music holds a special place in the hearts of the Maltese people and is deeply intertwined with the cultural identity of the country. The performances during the Festa of St. George not only entertain but also provide a connection to the heritage and traditions of Qormi and Malta as a whole.


Whether during processions or standalone performances, the music and band performances during the Festa of St. George create an atmosphere of joy, celebration, and cultural pride. They uplift spirits, evoke emotions, and bring together the community in a resounding harmony of music and tradition.


Traditional Food and Delicacies

No celebration in Malta is complete without indulging in the mouthwatering traditional food and delicacies, and the Festa of St. George in Qormi is no exception. The festivities provide a culinary feast for the senses, offering a tantalizing array of flavors that reflect the rich gastronomic heritage of the Maltese islands.


One of the most iconic delicacies associated with the Festa of St. George is the Pastizz, a savory pastry filled with either ricotta cheese or mushy peas. These flaky, bite-sized treats are a true delight, with their contrasting textures and delicious fillings. They are readily available during the celebrations, and locals and visitors alike can be seen enjoying them as they wander through the vibrant streets of Qormi.


Rabbit stew, or “Fenek,” is another favorite dish that takes center stage during the Festa. This traditional Maltese specialty is a delicious blend of tender rabbit meat, flavorsome herbs, and hearty vegetables, slow-cooked to perfection. The aroma of Fenek wafts through the air, enticing passersby to try this beloved dish that is often enjoyed with a side of crusty bread.


The Festa of St. George is also a time to savor freshly baked bread, a staple in Maltese cuisine. Bakeries in Qormi are abuzz with activity, producing a variety of traditional loaves, including the popular “Hobz tal-Malti” or Maltese bread. These crusty, golden-brown loaves are made with locally sourced ingredients and have a distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with cheese, olives, or other traditional accompaniments.


No Maltese celebration is complete without sweet treats, and the Festa of St. George offers an abundance of delectable desserts. Traditional pastries, such as Qassatat (small pastry pies filled with cheese or peas) and Imqaret (date-filled pastries), tempt those with a sweet tooth. These goodies, made with love and care, are a testament to the culinary heritage of Malta.


To wash down all the delicious food, visitors can sample local beverages such as Kinnie—a refreshing citrus-flavored soft drink—and the Maltese liqueur known as Bajtra, made from prickly pears. These unique drinks add a delightful touch to the culinary experience of the Festa.


The traditional food and delicacies of the Festa of St. George in Qormi offer a gastronomic journey through Maltese culture. They provide a sensory experience that showcases the rich flavors, culinary traditions, and warm hospitality of the Maltese people, adding another layer of delight to the vibrant celebrations.


Participation of Local Communities and Associations

The Festa of St. George in Qormi is not only a religious and cultural event but also a celebration that brings together the entire community. The active participation of local communities and associations plays a vital role in the success and vibrancy of the festivities.


From the early stages of planning to the final execution, the involvement of various community groups and associations is evident. They contribute their time, skills, and resources to ensure that every aspect of the Festa is carried out with precision and care. Their dedication and commitment to preserving and promoting this cherished tradition are truly admirable.


Local communities come together to assist with the preparation and decoration of the streets, transforming Qormi into a visual spectacle. Through collaboration and teamwork, they adorn the archways, hang banners, and embellish windows and balconies with colorful decorations, infusing the city with a sense of joy and celebration.


Various associations play an active role during the Festa, particularly in organizing and coordinating events and activities. Cultural and arts organizations showcase their talents through exhibitions, performances, and workshops. Their contributions not only entertain but also provide a deeper understanding of Qormi’s cultural heritage to residents and visitors alike.


Religious associations and clergy members actively participate in the religious ceremonies and processions. They lend their spiritual guidance and help create a solemn and reverential atmosphere during the Festa. The presence and involvement of these associations further deepen the religious significance and conviction of the celebrations.


Community fundraising efforts are also an integral part of the participation. Local groups organize various activities, such as fairs, raffles, and concerts, to raise funds for the expenses incurred during the Festa. These initiatives rely on the support and involvement of community members, fostering a sense of collective responsibility and ownership over the celebrations.


Furthermore, the Festa of St. George provides a platform for local artisans, craftsmen, and businesses to showcase their products and services. Street vendors sell traditional food, drinks, and handcrafted goods, adding to the lively atmosphere of the event while supporting the local economy.


The participation of local communities and associations not only enhances the Festa itself but also fosters a sense of belonging, pride, and unity among the people of Qormi. Their collective efforts contribute to the creation of a unique and memorable experience that highlights the city’s cultural heritage and strengthens community bonds.


St. George’s Day Parade

As the culmination of the Festa of St. George in Qormi, the St. George’s Day Parade is a grand spectacle that captivates the hearts and imaginations of locals and visitors alike. This vibrant parade showcases the rich traditions, pageantry, and cultural heritage of Qormi in a dazzling display of colors and festivities.


The St. George’s Day Parade takes place on the final day of the Festa, traditionally on April 23rd, the feast day of St. George. The streets of Qormi come alive with a procession of marching bands, adorned triumphal arches, decorated floats, and enthusiastic participants donning colorful costumes and traditional attire.


The parade begins with the resounding beats of drums and the majestic sounds of brass instruments as the bands lead the way. These talented musicians, dressed in vibrant uniforms, fill the air with lively tunes, adding an energetic and melodic backdrop to the procession.


Each band is followed by groups representing various aspects of Qormi’s cultural heritage. Traditional dancers, local associations, and community organizations proudly showcase their talents, customs, and heritage through captivating performances and displays. The diversity and creativity on display reflect the vibrant spirit and identity of Qormi.


The highlight of the St. George’s Day Parade is the presence of the statue of St. George, lovingly carried through the streets by devoted individuals. Adorned with flowers and ribbons, the statue is the centerpiece and focal point of the procession, accompanied by the heartfelt prayers and chants of the faithful.


The procession weaves through the streets of Qormi, creating a joyful and festive atmosphere. Spectators line the route, cheering and applauding as the colorful parade passes by. The streets are transformed into a moving tapestry of sights, sounds, and emotions, immersing everyone in the spirit of the Festa.


As the parade reaches its culmination, the statue of St. George is carried back to the local church amidst cheers and applause. The crowd, filled with a sense of reverence and gratitude, expresses their devotion to their patron saint and their appreciation for the rich tradition and cultural heritage of Qormi.


The St. George’s Day Parade is a fitting finale to the Festa of St. George, leaving a lasting impression on all who witness it. It serves as a testament to the unity, pride, and deep-rooted traditions of the people of Qormi, ensuring that the legacy of St. George and the Festa continue to thrive for generations to come.



The Festa of St. George in Qormi is a celebration that encompasses the essence of Maltese culture, tradition, and faith. From its rich history to the vibrant processions, traditional decorations, tantalizing delicacies, and spirited music, the Festa creates an immersive experience that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression on all who participate.


Throughout the centuries, the Festa of St. George has stood as a symbol of resilience, devotion, and community spirit for the people of Qormi. It is a time when the city comes together to honor their patron saint, showcase their heritage, and strengthen the bonds that unite them.


The preparations for the Festa involve the dedication of countless individuals, from the clergy and volunteers to the local community and associations. Their collective efforts bring to life the decorated streets, the religious processions, the lively music, and the delectable traditional food that define the celebrations.


Participating in the Festa of St. George is not just a cultural experience but a deeply spiritual one. It is a time of reflection, gratitude, and renewed faith as the people of Qormi pay homage to St. George and seek his intercession.


Moreover, the Festa serves as a platform to celebrate and preserve the unique traditions and heritage of Qormi. It is an opportunity for artists, craftsmen, and local businesses to showcase their talents and products, ensuring the continuity of traditional skills and practices.


By actively involving the local communities and associations, the Festa reinforces the sense of belonging and shared identity among the people of Qormi. It epitomizes unity, as residents and visitors join together to immerse themselves in the celebrations, creating a collective memory that will be cherished for years to come.


Whether it is witnessing the solemn religious processions, savoring the mouthwatering traditional food, or experiencing the exhilarating music and pageantry of the St. George’s Day Parade, the Festa of St. George in Qormi offers an unforgettable experience that showcases the rich cultural tapestry of Malta.


As the Festa of St. George continues to thrive and evolve, it remains a testament to the enduring spirit, faith, and pride of the people of Qormi in their patron saint and their heritage. It is a celebration that brings people together, fosters a sense of unity, and reinforces the values and traditions that make Qormi a vibrant and cherished part of Maltese culture.