Culture
Why do we celebrate Imnarja? A look into the traditional summer festival
What's it all about?

Kristina Cassar Dowling

If you’re on the Maltese islands on the 28th and 29th June, boy, have you got a great treat in store! It’s l-Imnarja, a public holiday that possesses religious, cultural and rural kudos! The feast technically celebrates Saint Peter and Saint Paul, but, much like many Maltese festi today, the saints rarely get a look in.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by NancyC 💓 (@nancycachia) on

Unlike other local feasts where alcohol, cheap food and competitive band music dominate (sounds like fun right), l-Imnarja is a little bit more cultural and holds folklore and tradition at the forefront of the event! You can expect to hear a lot of folk music such as the ghana, which will serenade you throughout the night. Generally celebrated at Buskett Gardens, this event is packed with families and their animals.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rod's Odd Bits (@rods_odd_bits) on

Buskett is the greenest woodland Malta has and it was used as a hunting ground during the rule of the Knights Templar but this feast finds its roots before the Knights hit our shores. The Italian word luminara means festival of light and this is thought to signify the fact that Mdina and Rabat were lit by bonfires during the event.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by NancyC 💓 (@nancycachia) on

Maltese celebrate l-Imnarja for the same reason they celebrate any other feast: it’s a time to get out of the house; enjoy the company of your community; and be merry! Here, ethnic bands hit their beats enthusiastically, while their audience munch down on freshly cooked rabbit.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jeremy Parnis (@jeremyparnis) on

Animals of an uncooked nature also feature during this feast: a donkey and horse race usually takes place in Rabat while farm animals and other pets hang out in Buskett Gardens to enjoy their day off too!

So, will you be joining?

27th June 2019


Kristina Cassar Dowling
Written by
Kristina Cassar Dowling
A local writer in love with the Maltese islands, Kristina is a hunter for all things cultural both in Malta and outside its shores. A curious foodie, music fanatic, art lover and keen traveller with an open mind and a passion for writing.

You may also like...
Culture

Francesca Vella
Culture
Culture
The musical features several elements from Malta’s capital in the 1950s

Francesca Vella
Culture
Culture
The event will be held on 22nd June between 10am to 12pm at Ta’ Detta Restaurant on the Valletta Waterfront

Francesca Vella
Culture
Culture
Traveller Patrick Brydone travelled around Malta and Sicily in 1770.

Francesca Vella
Culture
Culture
Discover the origins of Sette Giugno - Malta's June 7th public holiday.

Lisa Borain