March 19th brings special masses, colourful marching processions, and of course, fireworks.
While various parishes around Malta celebrate Saint Joseph during the summer months, the public holiday of Saint Joseph is set on March 19th in Malta, always occurring during Lent.
Malta isn't the only place that celebrates the saint on March 19th - other countries in which there is a large Roman Catholic influence - such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Poland also lay out the festivities for the pre-spring day.
The day has been celebrated as a special day since the 10th century AD, and as a result of it falling during Lent, fish is usually substituted for meat on feasting tables.
Malta's main celebrations on the day are held in Rabat and Mdina (aka the old capital of Malta and "the silent city"). You'll find that while some businesses close down for the Feast of Saint Joseph (as with Malta's other 14 feasts), most restaurants, cafes and bars will still be open for business as usual.
A lot of special masses take place, most of which are held at the National Sanctuary of Saint Joseph, the Church of Saint Mary of Jesus, and some other locations.
Check out Rabat to experience the colourful processions with accompanying musical bands, which will march through the streets of Rabat on the feast day. It's a great way to experience marching music and festive hymns by several bands at various times throughout the day.
The relics of Saint Joseph are carried in a procession on the day before the feast, while the main procession takes place in the evening when the statue of Saint Joseph is carried from the National Sanctuary of Saint Joseph to the Church of Saint Mary of Jesus.
There's never a lack of glorious fireworks in Malta. Catch a display of the Maltese people's passion for sky illuminations before, during, and following the processions. You don't have to be in Rabat, either; there will be various fireworks displays in different parts of Malta, along with colourful flares set off in the sky. If you share the locals' love of fireworks, don't miss the impressive display by the triumphal arch at end of the weekend’s events.