Malta International Fireworks Festival
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What time of year do you set off fireworks where you live? Time was when there was one set day of the year for lighting up the sky in most countries – Chinese New Year, Bastille Day in France, Independence Day in the USA and November 5 in the UK. Nowadays though, hardly a month goes by without someone lighting the blue touch paper and standing well back – Christmas, New Year, weddings, birthdays etc any excuse will do!
In Malta, it’s different! Fireworks have always been set off here with alarming regularity. You see, every village on Malta has its own Festa, and every Festa is marked by having eye-watering amounts of money going up in smoke and sparks and explosions in the shape of fireworks.
Festas happen throughout the summer months and are usually heralded without warning by underpants-fillingly loud bangs in the hours of daylight. These explosions are caused by fireworks called petards and as well as inducing cardiac problems, they are intended to ward off evil spirits. They tend to take you entirely by surprise unless you’re in the actual village of the Festa so have been pre- warned by all the flags and decorations hanging from buildings.
So, in a country of firework experts, imagine if there was an event involving spectacular dispays that was entirely predictable and utterly spectacular? Well, there is! And it’s a bit special. It’s the Malta International Firework Festival and the date for your diary is the end of April every year.
The remit is that firework companies and expert ‘pyrotechnicians’ come together for this event to show off just how spectacular their fireworks can be. The massive displays are set off across the Grand Harbour in Valletta. Combine those two factors and you should be imagining something very spectacular. You’d be absolutely right!
It’s proper official too! The event is organised by the Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism and the Malta Tourism Authority. The participants are the best of the local firework factories on the island plus at least two foreign companies.
To enhance the experience – as if it needs it – the displays are usually synchronised to music. The current April date is chosen to mark the anniversary of Malta's accession to the European Union in 2004. But Maltese fireworks have been exploding since the time of the Order of the Knights of St John in the 16th century.
Everyone and anyone is invited to enjoy the show at the Malta Fireworks Festival - and the show represents tremendous value for money because it is completely free of charge. The best places to head for spectacular views include: Barriera Wharf, Upper Barrakka Gardens or Ta' Liesse in Valletta.
Such is the scale of the displays though, that there are many other vantage points where you can settle down for an evening of ‘ooooohs’ and 'ahhhs’! You can do much worse, for example, than get bedded down early with a beer outside one of the bars on the Valletta Waterfront, provided there’s no cruise ship in port blocking the view!
The luckiest people are those that watch from boats, which is why some people hire one for the night and have a floating party. Believe us, if you’re a firework fan then there are few better ways to enjoy them then to sit on a luxury launch in the middle of the Grand Harbour with a glass of bubbly in your hand! Check out the official Malta Firework Festival link below for details of the forthcoming event.
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