Culture
Celebrate the Immaculate Conception this 8th December at these six different Maltese churches and feasts
A public holiday many look forward to every year.

Emma Galea

Tomorrow the 8th December, Catholic communities all across the world are celebrating the Immaculate Conception, a feast which celebrates St Mary being born without the original sin.

Malta too celebrates this important feast in the Catholic calendar with a number of traditional feasts all across Malta & Gozo.

We have gathered a list of all the feasts celebrating the Immaculate Conception across the country. This is a chance for people to truly immerse themselves in a historically rich and traditionally devout Maltese feast.

1. Immaculate Conception Church, Bormla

Perhaps the biggest celebration in Malta of the Immaculate Conception is held right here, in the Parish church of Bormla. In the morning of every 8th December (9:30am), a huge celebratory mass is held in the parish church. The church also holds other activities during the day including a procession with the parish’s holy statue that starts at 6pm.

If you’re going round discovering Bormla, make sure to also check out Kuncizzjoni street, more specifically the beautiful statue of the Immaculate Conception over by the corner. It was sculpted all the way back in 1788 and was also recently restored.

2. Immaculate Conception Church, Hamrun

Hamrun, is also home to another beautiful church in Malta dedicated to Immaculate Conception. Originally built as an oratory in 1923, the church houses a mosaic of the Immaculate Conception which is inspired by the 17th century painting ‘The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables’.

Additionally, the church is home to an Immaculate Conception statue made by R. Zanzio & Co in Rome in 1903. The first time they celebrated the feast was back in November 1968 but they now celebrate with a full blown Maltese feast in July. On the 8th December, they still celebrate but with a parade by the Hamrun Boy Scouts that starts at 10:30am.

3. San Frangisk church, Rabat, Gozo

Over on the sister island of Gozo, the Franciscan Church in Saint Francis Square, Victoria also celebrates the feast and they have been doing so since 1663. Every 8th December, they take out the holy statue of the Immaculate Conception that was sculpted in wood by Salvatore Psaila in 1848 for a procession around the Gozitan capital of Rabat. A huge celebratory mass is also held in the morning.

4. Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, Naxxar

Built in the 17th century this filial church in Naxxar celebrates the Immaculate Conception every year. This time round they will be holding a short procession at 6pm which will be followed by a celebratory mass right after. The church itself will also be open for prayer between 8am to 12pm.

5. Immaculate Conception of Our Lady (Tal-Hondoq) Qala, Gozo

This small chapel is found right before you start the road to secluded and beautiful Hondoq beach and is the perfect spot for a little reflection and prayer for this holy day. The chapel also houses an altarpiece depicting God protecting the Immaculate Conception that was painted by Federico Barocci di Urbino. The statue is just as impressive and was sculptured in Marseilles by Gallard et Fils in 1887.

For many years, the feast in Qala has also been celebrated with a motorcade pilgrimage that leaves Ta’ Pinu’s sanctuary to the National Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception in Qala. A sweet tradition that many look forward to every year. This year the motorcade will commence at 1:30pm.

6. Sarria Church, Floriana

This round chapel dedicated to Immaculate Conception was built 1585 but after the devastation the plague brought to Malta, Grand Master Nicolas Cotoner built in its place another church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception as a way to thank Our Lady for her help. In fact, the altar piece, which was painted by the renowned Mattia Preti, depicts the Immaculate Conception as angels shelter their swords after successfully defeating the plague of 1675-76.  

Which feast are you planning on attending? 

7th December 2023


Emma Galea
Written by
Emma Galea
Emma is a Gozitan writer who loves all things related to English literature and history. When not busy studying or writing you will either find her immersed in a fictional book or at the cinema trying to watch as many films as she possibly can!

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