The village feast (il-festa) is an old tradition in Malta which I feel is being lost in one way or another. Although we are not into feasts at all, we thought that it would be a good idea to take our son to experience our own village festa for the first time.
So without knowing the feast program and whether there will be any activity at all at the square, on Tuesday of the festa week we decided to go out for a walk down to the village square. To our surprise, there was lots of activity going on at the square.
We were just in time as the village band (il-banda) was already lined up in front of the church (iz-zuntier) preparing for their first anthem. Kids were running all around happily playing on the zuntier because it was truly a feast for them! Our toddler soon joined into the fun and made some new friends playing with a foot ball and watching other children holding their flags as if they were eagerly waiting for the band to start playing.
The church was all lit up nicely, of course for the occasion. Then when the church bells began to ring it was time for the band to start the anthems!! You could easily notice the excitement on our son’s face as soon as he heard the band playing. Seeing how amazed he was, we walked behind the banda for an hour or more through the narrow streets of the village. We weren’t the only parents with kids following the band and it was actually more fun than we ever thought.
Along the way we bought him a small drum set for our son to ”join” in the band 🙂 He had the time of his life playing his drums along with the banda. And it was fun for us too seeing our son having so much fun experiencing the village feast for the first time. If we wanted, we could have stayed late to watch the fireworks but our son is an early sleeper and we headed home before the fireworks started.
We made sure it will not be the first and the last time to visit a village feast. Actually we thought that going to a village feast is a great family outing with young kids because the streets are closed to traffic, kids mingle and play with other kids, and parents can also entertain themselves and socialise.
From then on, as soon as our son hears the sound of the fireworks he tells us “festa” and our house has become a feast every day with flags and drums going round the house at any time of the day! No doubt he enjoyed this experience!