Public and national holidays in Malta
1st January New Year’s Day
The start of a brand new year is a day of celebration all around the world.
It’s also a public holiday in Malta and Gozo, a day to spend together with family or friends.
10th February Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck
The first of the year’s major feasts is celebrated in the Parish Church of St. Paul Shipwrecked in Valletta and in the streets of Malta’s capital city. It commemorates the shipwreck of the Apostle St. Paul on the Maltese Islands, an event which took place in 60 AD and which is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. This event is a National Public Holiday and a Religious Feast.
9th March Feast of St. Joseph
This feast is celebrated in the town of Rabat. It is also a Public Holiday.
31st March *Freedom Day
Freedom Day (Maltese: Jum il-Ħelsien) is a Maltese national holiday celebrated annually on 31 March. This is the anniversary of the withdrawal of British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta in 1979. On taking power in 1971, the Labour Government indicated it wanted to re-negotiate the lease agreement with the United Kingdom. Following protracted and sometimes tense talks, a new agreement was signed whereby the lease was extended till the end of March 1979 at a vastly increased rent. On March 31, 1979 the last British Forces left Malta. For the first time in a millennia, Malta was no longer a military base of a foreign power and it became independent de facto as well as de jure. A monument on the Birgu (Vittoriosa) waterfront commemorates this event.
With the annual approach of the Easter Season, Christians all over the world prepare to celebrate the passion & resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Malta the devotion towards this annual commemoration is very strong , and evidence to this, are the numerous exhibitions, events and pagaents held around the various towns and villages. The most significant of all are undoubtedly the Good Friday processions.
These statues are part of Malta’s artistic, religious and cultural heritage and very often go unnoticed due to the fact that they are only exhibited for approximately two weeks each year towards the end of Lent.
1st May Worker’s Day
Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world, recognising the economic and social achievements of workers. Popularly known as May Day or International Workers’ Day, the 1st of May is also a public holiday in Malta and Gozo. Activities commemorating this event take place mostly in Valletta.
The date also coincides with the religious feast of St. Joseph the Worker celebrated in the town of B’Kara
7th June *Sette Giugno
Sette Giugno (from Italian for “Seventh of June”) is a Maltese national holiday celebrated annually on 7 June. It commemorates events which occurred on that day in 1919 when, following a series of riots by the Maltese population, British troops fired into the crowd, killing four. This led to increased resistance and support for the pro-Italian parties that had challenged the British presence on the island.
29th June Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul or Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed on 29 June.
The Feast of the Assumption, also known as the feast of ‘Santa Maria’, is celebrated every year on the 15th of August and marks the ascent into heaven by the Virgin Mary. This popular Maltese ‘festa’ is the peak of the summer season of religious village feasts and is celbrated in 7 towns and villages: Għaxaq, Gudja, Ħ’Attard, Mosta, Mqabba and Qrendi in Malta, and Victoria in Gozo. It is also a public holiday
8th September *Feast of Our Lady of Victories Sunday
This date commemorates the end of the Great Siege of 1565, the end of the French occupation of Malta in 1800 and co-incidentally enough the armistice of the Fascist regime in Italy in 1943. In the latter, the connection with Malta was two-fold: the bombardments by the ‘Aeronautica’ were over and the Italian Navy was brought to Malta to remain moored at St. Paul’s Bay until the end of the war.
The morning is taken up by various State ceremonies amongst which a parade by the Armed Forces of Malta. During the afternoon, an avidly contested traditional rowing boat regatta is held in the Grand Harbour. In the evening, there are at least four towns in Malta and Gozo, which celebrate the feast of Our Lady as a Child (Maria Bambina/Our Lady of Victory). Indeed the feast which is centuries old changed its name to Il-Madonna tal-Vitorja, following the end of the Great Siege of 1565
21st September *Independence Day
This holiday is always celebrated on 21 September. In Malta, it is called ‘Jum 1-Indipendenza’. The day marks the day in 1964, when Malta gained independence from Britain.
8th Decemeber Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated in the town of Cospicua in Malta. This day is a public holiday.
13th December *Republic Day
On the 13th December 1974 the Maltese Constitution was amended and Malta became a Republic, having Sir Anthony Mamo as its first President.
Activities marking this historic date take place every year, mostly in Valletta.
25th December Christmas Day
Christmas is very important to the people of Malta and its sister Island of Gozo. Most people on Malta are Catholics and go to a Midnight Mass Service. Usually the churches are full with people.
In Maltese Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Il-Milied it-Tajjeb’
Malta is the country with the most holidays in the European Union. Since 2005, any holidays falling on Saturdays or Sundays do not add an extra day to the workers’ leave pool.
- March 31 – Freedom Day (Jum il-Ħelsien)
- June 7 – Sette Giugno
- September 8 – Victory Day (Jum il-Vitorja)
- September 21 – Independence Day (Jum l-Indipendenza)
- December 13 – Republic Day (Jum ir-Repubblika)
- January 1 – New Year’s Day (L-Ewwel tas-Sena)
- February 10 – Feast of Saint Paul’s Shipwreck in Malta (San Pawl Nawfragu) – the apostle is the patron saint of Malta
- March 19 – Feast of Saint Joseph (San Ġużepp)
- Friday before Easter – Good Friday (Il-Ġimgħa l-Kbira)
- May 1 – Worker’s Day (Jum il-Ħaddiem)
- June 29 – Feast of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, patron saints (L-Imnarja)
- August 15 – Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady (Santa Marija)
- December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Il-Kunċizzjoni)
- December 25 – Christmas Day (Il-Milied)
The following is a list of feasts or special days celebrated in Malta. Note that, with the exception of the dates mentioned in the previous section, these feasts are not public holidays and on these days, business runs as usual across the Maltese islands. As Malta is largely Roman Catholic, most of these feasts celebrate Saints or events from the Holy Bible.
January by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar tal-bard which is the coldest month
- New Year’s Day (L-Ewwel tas-Sena or L-Istrina): 1 January
- Epiphany (Epifanija or It-Tre Re): first Sunday after 1 January
- St Anthony the Abbot (San Anton Abbati): 13 January at Rabat
- Conversion of St. Paul (Konverżjoni ta’ San Pawl): 27 January at Mdina
February by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar ta’ San Pawl (St. Paul’s month)
- Candlemas (Gandlora): 2 February
- St. Blase (San Blas): 3 February
- St. Paul Shipwreck (San Pawl Nawfragu): 10 February at Valletta, Marsalforn and Munxar
- St. Valentine (San Valentinu): 14 February
March by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar ta’ San Ġużepp, tal-Lunzjata u tar-roħs (St. Joseph, the Annunciation and Sales’ month)
- Jesus of Nazareth (Ġesù Nazzarenu): 7 March at Sliema
- St. Joseph (San Ġużepp): 19 March at Rabat
- Annunciation (Il-Lunzjata): 25 March
- Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien): 31 March
April is known by the Maltese as ix-xahar tan-nwhar u ta’ San Girgor (the month of blossoms and St. Gregory).
- April Fool’s Day (Il-Ġifa): 1 April
- St. Gregory (San Girgor): First Wednesday after Easter Sunday
- St. Publius (San Publju): 6 April at Floriana
- St. George (San Ġorġ): 23 April at Qormi and Rabat (Victoria)
The following feasts are moveable as they can occur either in March or in April.
- Our Lady of Sorrows (Id-Duluri): Friday before Palm Sunday
- Palm Sunday (Ħadd il-Palm)
- Good Friday (Il-Ġimgħa l-Kbira)
- Easter (L-Għid or L-Irxoxt)
May by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar tal-ħsad, tal-Madonna ta’ Pompej (The month of harvest, Our Lady of Pompeii)
- St. Joseph the Worker (www.sanguzepphaddiem.com San Ġużepp Ħaddiem or Jum il-Ħaddiem): 1 May (with a feast at Ħamrun and Birkirkara)
- Our Lady of Liesse (Il-Madonna ta’ Liesse): 2 May at Valletta
- Feast of the Cross (Santu Kruċ): 3 May at Birkirkara
- St. Augustine (Santu Wistin): 3 May at Valletta
- Liturgical Feast of St George Preca (San Ġorġ Preca): 9 May
- Holy Trinity (Trinità Mqaddsa): 31 May at Marsa
- St. Rita (Santa Rita): 22 May at Valletta
- The Annunciation (Il-Lunzjata): 24 May at Tarxien
- St. Paul (San Pawl): 24 May at Munxar, Gozo
- Our Lady of Fatima (Il-Madonna ta’ Fatima): from mid May till 2nd weekend of June, at Pietà, Malta
- St. Joseph (San Ġużepp): 24 May at Għaxaq
- St. Anthony of Padua (Sant’ Antnin ta’ Padova): 31 May at Birkirkara
- Mother’s Day (Jum l-Omm): Second Sunday of May
June by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar tad-dris, tal-ħġejjeġ, tal-Imnarja, u tal-Qalb ta’ Ġesù (the month of reaping, bonfires, St. Peter and St. Paul, and Sacred Heart).
- St. Joseph (San Ġużepp): First Sunday at Għaxaq
- Christ the Redeemer (Kristu Redentur): 21 June at Senglea
- St. Philip (San Filip): 14 June at Żebbuġ, Malta
- Corpus Christi: 8 June at Għasri
- Sacred Heart of Jesus (Il-Qalb ta’ Ġesù): 14 June at Fontana, Gozo
- Our Lady of Lily (Il-Madonna tal-Ġilju): 21 June at Mqabba
- St. Catherine (Santa Katarina): 21 June at Żejtun
- St. John the Baptist (San Ġwann Battista): 21 June at Xewkija
- Our Lady of Lourdes (Il-Madonna ta’ Lourdes): 22 June at Qrendi
- Father’s Day (Jum il-Missier): Third Sunday of June
- St. Nicholas (San Nikola): 29 June at Siġġiewi
- St. George (San Ġorġ): 29 June at Qormi
- Our Lady of Sacred Heart (Il-Qalb Bla Tebgħa ta’ Marija): 29 June at Burmarrad
- St. Peter and St. Paul (San Pietru u San Pawl: L-Imnarja): 29 June at Mdina and Nadur
- St. John (San Ġwann): Fourth Sunday of June
July by the Maltese is known as tal-Karmnu (of Monte Carmel).
- The Visitation (Il-Viżitazzjoni): 5 July at Għarb, Gozo
- St. Paul (San Pawl): 5 July at Rabat
- Our Lady of Sacred Heart (Sacro Cuor): 5 July at Sliema
- St. Andrew (Sant’ Andrija): 5 July at Luqa
- Our Lady of Lourdes (Il-Madonna ta’ Lourdes): 5 July at Qrendi
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel : 5 July at Fleur-de-Lys; 12 July at Fgura; 13 July at Gżira; 19 July at Mdina and Birkirkara; and 26 July at Balluta Bay (San Ġiljan)
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Il-Madonna tal-Karmnu): 16 July at Valletta
- Our Lady of Sorrows (Marija Sultana Tal-Martri): 20 July San Pawl Il-Bahar
- St Joseph (San Ġużepp) : 2nd Sunday of July at Ħal Kirkop
- The Annunciation (Marija Annunzjata) : 2nd Sunday of July at Hal Balzan
- Sacred Family (Sagra Familja) : 3rd Sunday of July at Bidnija
- St. Anne (Sant’ Anna): 26 July at Marsaskala
- St. Venera (Santa Venera): 27 July at Santa Venera
- Christ the King (Kristu Re): Last Sunday of July at Paola, Malta
- Mount Carmel* (Madonna Tal-Karmnu): 27th July at Zurrieq, Malta
August by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar tal-frott, ta’ Santa Marija u ta’ San Lawrenz (The month of fruit, St. Mary and St. Lawrence).
- St.Peter in Chains (“San Pietru fil-Ktajjen”): 3 August at Birżebbuġa
- St. Lawrence (San Lawrenz): 10 August at Birgu and San Lawrenz
- St. Gaetan (San Gejtanu): 11 August at Ħamrun
- The Seven St. Marys (Is-Seba’ Santa Marijiet): 15 August at Għaxaq, Mqabba, Qrendi, Gudja, Mosta, Attard, Victoria (Rabat,Gozo)
- St. Roque (Santu Rokku): 16 August
- St. Helen (Santa Elena): in Birkirkara: Feast celebrated on a Sunday morning, 18 August or the Sunday following the 18 August
- Stella Maris (Our Lady Star of the Sea): Third Sunday of August in Sliema
- The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (Il-Martirju ta’ San Ġwann): 29 August
- St. Dominic of Guzman (San Duminku ta’ Guzman): Last Sunday of August in Birgu
September by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar tal-Vitorja, tal-Bambina, u tal-Grazzja (the month of Victory, the Nativity of Our Lady, and Our Lady of Graces).
- The Nativity of Our Lady (Il-Bambina): 8 September at Mellieħa, Naxxar, Senglea and Xagħra
- Our Lady of Graces (Il-Madonna tal-Grazzja): Sunday after 8 September
- The Name of Mary (L-Isem ta’ Marija): 12 September
- Independence Day (Jum L-Indipendenza): 21 September
October by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar tar-Rużarju (Month of the Rosary)
- Our Lady of Rosary (Il-Madonna tar-Rużarju): different processions in different villages in Malta and Gozo in different days in October
By the Maltese, November is known as ix-xahar tal-inżigħ tal-weraq, tal-erwieħ, u tal-imwiet (the month of fallen leaves, of souls, and of deaths).
- All Souls Day (L-Għid tal-Erwieħ): 2 November
- St. Martin of Tours (San Martin): 11 November
- St. Cecilia (Santa Ċeċilja): 22 November
- St. Catherine of Alexandria (Santa Katarina ta’ Lixandra): 25 November
- Christ the King (Kristu Re): Sunday after 25 November
December by the Maltese is known as ix-xahar tal-Milied u tal-Kunċizzjoni (the Christmas and Conception month).
- Immaculate Conception (Il-Kunċizzjoni): 8 December with the Traditional Festa in Cospicua
- St. Lucy (Santa Luċija): 13 December
- Christmas (Il-Milied): 25 December with its traditional procession with the statue of Infant Jesus
- St. Stephen (San Stiefnu): 26 December
- Innocent Saints (L-Innoċenti Martri): 28 December
- St. Silvester (San Silvestru): 31 December
Distinction between National and Public Holidays
Article 3 of the National Holidays and Other Public Holidays Act (chapter 252) provides the distinction between National and Public Holidays
The National Holidays shall be public holidays and on those occasions there shall be flown on public buildings the National Flag of Malta.