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Celebrating Republic Day in Malta: A spectacular fusion of history & festivities

On the picturesque island of Malta, December 13 holds a unique place on the calendar, marked as Republic Day in Malta. If you're planning a winter getaway to Malta, include this date in your travel plans to witness the vibrant celebrations that commemorate a pivotal moment in Maltese history.

Republic Day, also known as Jum ir-Repubblika by the locals, is a day which commemorates the ending of the rule of the monarchy and the beginning of the republic. It's like the birthday of modern Malta and people celebrate it with pride and joy!

History of Republic Day in Malta

Republic Day in Malta has its roots in the monumental events of December 13, 1974. It is the day when Malta officially cut sovereign ties with Queen Elizabeth II. This ended an era of monarchical rule. The decision followed a democratic vote, making Malta stand strong with self-determination.

Malta has had historical ties with the British Empire since the Napoleonic wars. At that time, the Maltese were liberated from French occupation and then embraced British rule. Growing under British governance, Malta enjoyed close ties with the UK until it was granted independence in 1964, with a governor general exercising authority on behalf of the Queen. Following this, in 1971, people elected the Malta Labour Party, which worked ahead to transform Malta into a republic. That vision came into existence on December 13, 1974, when Malta became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, with Sir Anthony Mamo as its first President.

Republic Day in Malta celebrations

The festivities on Republic Day in Malta are a vibrant display of Maltese pride. Capital city Valletta and the popular town of Marsa come alive with festivities. The President of Malta honours citizens with awards for personal successes or meritorious service to emphasise the nation's commitment to excellence. This is followed by wreath-laying ceremonies at monuments and military parades in Valletta, which makes the day even brighter.

If you are around in Malta at this time of the year, do not miss the ‘Annual Band Concert’ at the Manoel Theater in Valletta. It is a must-see event featuring bands from different towns and villages. The concert combines traditional and modern band marches to entertain the audience. The celebrations end with a breathtaking fireworks display, leaving the Grand Harbour between Marsa and Valletta bathed in light and sparkle.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception: A dual celebration

Adding to the festive spirit, another public holiday in December is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This religious celebration is an 8th-century tradition. The event honours the belief that Mary, Jesus' mother, was born without sin. With over 90% of the Maltese population identifying as Catholic, many towns and villages hold feasts, marking a fusion of religious and cultural traditions.

Visitors to Malta, at this time, are encouraged to immerse themselves in the ongoing celebrations. The festivities provide a unique opportunity to experience the pride and hospitality of the Maltese people. The event extends into the early hours in Valletta and promises fun and entertainment for all.

Republic Day in Malta: A December to remember

If you’re planning a trip to Malta, you must remember that December offers a dual delight with Republic Day and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrations. These events reflect Malta's rich history and provide a glimpse of the nation's vibrant culture. As you witness the greatness of Republic Day and join the festivities, be prepared to dive into the warmth and energy that defines Malta's spirit. So, prepare and set your sights on this Mediterranean gem for a December to remember!

Some facts for know:

5900 BC: The early population The early people of Malta were farmers and their agricultural activities made a significant impact on the island,, transforming it into a unique landscape.
1800: The French eviction The British, Neapolitan and Portuguese forces joined together to expel the French from the region.
1964 - 1974: The forming of Jum ir-Repubblika Malta achieved independence as the State of Malta and became a republic within a decade, joining the Commonwealth in 1974.
2004: Malta entered the EU Malta gained membership of the European Union.
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