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WATCH: 1944 footage shows the Immaculate Conception statue being carried from Birkirkara back to Cospicua
The statue was originally sculpted in 1680.

Emma Galea

In a video uploaded by Malta Audio Visual memories one can see the statue of the Immaculate Conception being carried back from Birkirkara to Cospicua in November 1944, almost 80 years ago! 

But why was it being carried from Birkirkara to Cospicua in the first place?

During World War II, areas and towns around the Grand Harbour were being heavily bombed and many landmarks were being destroyed.

One of those towns was Cospicua. The Grand Harbour town celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception every 8th December, a feast which is still celebrated to this day. However, back then, they were afraid that the bombs would eventually hit their parish church and the statue would up being destroyed in all the rubble.

Thus, they decided to move it to Birkirkara so if the bombs did destroy the church at the least the statue would survive. They also made a promise that if the war passed and the church was still standing, they would do a grand pilgrimage to bring the statue back to the Cospicua church from Birkirkara.

Even though 200 bombs fell nearby the church, it defied all the odds and remained completely intact.

Thankfully, by 1944 the war had significantly calmed down in Malta and the pilgrimage was carried out on the 19th November of that year. It was a way to show gratefulness to the Immaculate Conception for sparing the church and helping them through the war.

The statue passed through the streets of Hamrun, Marsa and Paola gathering large crowds of thankful Maltese citizens before it returned back to its home church.

The pilgrimage was carried out once again, 50 years later on the same exact date to continue commemorating this historic celebration.   

6th 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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