Culture
5 places to visit in & around Bormla on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
It's the 8th of December!

Nicole Parnis

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated internationally on the 8th of December, is a religious holiday of great importance to Catholics from all over the world.

Being a predominantly Roman Catholic country, the faithful in Malta celebrate this feast day in the run-up to Christmas through a number of special ways, and there's no place better to celebrate this festa, than in Bormla, situated in the Southern Harbour area of the island and part of the beloved Three Cities. 

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In recent years, Bormla has seen a massive revamp which manifested in the manicured gardening of the harbour inlet, The American University, and a funky modern bridge which takes you over to the opposite side of the bay and to the picturesque, tiny town of Senglea - also known as Isla. 

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There are many things that can be enjoyed on foot if you'd like to celebrate the feast of The Immaculate Conception in and around Bormla, and getting there is easy by public transport from Valletta bus station, and even by ferry from the Grand Harbour. Why not ditch the car for the day and get stuck in with a bit of traditional Maltese culture? Here are a few places we recommend if you happen to be visiting Bormla this festa weekend! 

1. Bormla church 

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If you are visiting Bormla on the 8th of November, you must take a look inside the wondrous parish church of Kuncizzjoni Immakulata - The Collegiate Church of the Immaculate Conception. Bormla's parish church is actually dedicated to this important part of Christianity, which, within the Catholic religion, is the conception of the Virgin Mary, free from original sin, before the birth of her son Jesus. The Catholic Church teaches that God acted upon Mary in the first moment of her conception, keeping her immaculate. At 9am on the 8th of December, mass is celebrated in parish church, where ministers, including the Prime Minister of Malta and family attend. 

2. Hammett's Maċina

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Just across from Bormla's main church is a bridge that will take you right across the bay into Senglea, also known as Isla. Senglea's seafront is dotted with painted boats, mainly fishing boats and regatta boats, of which the town is well known for. If you're after a true slice of Malta, there's nothing more traditional than a painted luzzu! Once you've taken some snaps, you can treat yourself to a fancy "festa day out" breakfast of Eggs Benedict with a glass of bubbly at Hammett's MaÄ‹ina Restaurant, situated in a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site in a 16th century fortification. How's that for culture! 

3. Flea market

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Once you're done with brunch, make your way to the neighbouring town of Birgu, also within the Three Cities. On the outskirts of Bormla you will find a Sunday car boot sale in a football pitch which is held every Sunday, weather permitting. This market is the closest thing to a proper flea market in the whole of Malta, and you'll find everything from antique furniture to religious paraphernalia and vintage clothing. After you've scored a few bargains, you might want to stop at Cafe Riche, just outside the bastions of Birgu, and stop for a much needed coffee break. 

4. Street procession 

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The most important part of celebrating the feast of The Immaculate Conception in Bormla is the procession, which happens at 6pm, where the statue of the Virgin Mary is carried in the street. And my, what a statue it is! It's one of the most beautiful in the whole of the Maltese islands, and is taken on a "pilgrimage" from church to church from Birkirkara to Bormla, but Bormla is its permanent hope. The silverwork was done by Ghezzi e Figli silversmiths of Milan, and In the year 2005, a golden stellarju was placed upon the head of the Madonna. Apart from its significant religious importance, Bormla church's statue of the Madonna is truly a work of art. 

5. The Lodge 

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Bormla's historic importance makes it the perfect place for wandering around on a day out, and getting in a bit of Instagram snapping and gallerija spotting while you're there. If you're holidaying in Malta, or just fancy a luxurious weekend away from the hustle and bustle, The Lodge in Bormla is the perfect place to unwind and live it up in one of their suites. The Lodge is a newly opened boutique hotel which is also used as a small events venue for things like baby showers, but if you're staying there, expect a fancy breakfast of croissants and cold cuts in the courtyard, all within the the walls of The Lodge - named after its days harping back to the 16th century when it acted as a lodge for the Knights of Malta. How's that for a festa day out! 

8th December 2019


Nicole Parnis
Written by
Nicole Parnis
Nicole Parnis is a writer and lifestyle blogger with a passion for music and a penchant for anything retro. She loves nothing more than rummaging for new vinyl records on a Sunday with her chihuahua Frankie.

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