Malta’s public holidays 2019 represent important dates and annual events in Malta’s history. This years public holidays fall mostly during weekends.
Malta bank holidays are to be observed as public holidays and it is by law that the National Flag of Malta is flown on public buildings on these days. There are 5 national holidays over the course of the year: Independence Day, Republic Day, Freedom Day, Feast of Our Lady of Victories and Sette Giugno.
Public holidays are more related to sacred religious traditions. Several religious feasts are organized in different cities across Malta. Public holidays in Malta occur on the following days: New Years’ Day, Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck, Good Friday, Workers’ Day, Feast of St Joseph, Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, Feast of the Assumption, Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas Day.
During Malta public holidays 2019, banks and most shops do not open as well as some museums and tourist attractions, however, in some popular tourist areas some of them may be open but this is not guaranteed so please remember to check local opening days to ensure they’re not closed. Bars, restaurants and various entertainment venues are usually open on holidays, so you can still enjoy your time off in Malta.
New Year’s Day – Tuesday, 1st January
As part of the Christmas festivities and as such, New Year’s Day is a public holiday and the first of the year. The Maltese celebrate New Year’s Day with most of the population spending the day with their friends and family, usually with a large home-made lunch or dining in one of the islands’ restaurants.
Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck – Sunday, 10th February
The 10th of February marks a special day in the history of Malta. In the year 60 AD St. Paul was shipwrecked in Malta, an event documented in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, and with his arrival came Christianity; the most widely practiced faith in Malta today with the Catholic faith having a heavy influence over the population.
Feast of St. Joseph – Tuesday, 19th March
Whilst St. Joseph has no direct link to Malta, he is a very important Saint in the Catholic faith as the spouse of the Virgin Mary. On the 19th of March, it is a religious obligation for Maltese Catholics to attend mass on the day. In Rabat, an evening procession is held around the town in the evening with a statue of St. Joseph.
Good Friday – Friday, 29th March
In Christianity, Good Friday forms part of the Easter celebrations to reflect on the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Many traditions take place during this period in Malta but most Maltese residents will attend one of the 14 Good Friday pageants held in the evening across the island in various towns and villages. At the pageants, long processions take place with statues portraying scenes from the Passion of the Christ and many will dress up as various characters from the bible.
Freedom Day – Sunday, 31st March
Celebrating the final departure of the British Armed Forces and Royal Navy in 1979, Freedom Day marks the day that Malta stopped being a military base for other nations. A monument was erected in Vittoriosa to commemorate Freedom Day but commemorations usually take place in the War Memorial in Floriana. Regatta boat races in the grand Harbour, also celebrating Freedom Day, attract large crowds on an annual basis.
Worker’s Day – Wednesday, 1st May
Workers’ day is celebrated in many countries as a sign of solidarity for workers and employees. It also marks out the signs of a healthy working environment. Malta also has another reason to celebrate the 1st of May as it was on this date that they became full members of the European Union. A variety of different festivities occur all over Malta on this day every year.
Sette Giugno – Friday, 7th June
The 7th of June commemorates the day that four Maltese nationals were killed when British troops fired into the crowds during a riot against the British. This event is seen as the first step to Malta gaining independence and as such, is now a national holiday.
Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul – Saturday, 29th June
Whilst the name of this holiday implies this day as a religious feast; cultural and traditional celebrations are the main focus of the day. A folk singing event in Buskett Gardens marks the eve of the holiday along with the serving of a traditional Maltese dish – fried rabbit. On the day itself, Rabat hosts traditional horse races in Saqqajja within the city limits of Rabat itself.
Feast of The Assumption of the Virgin Mary – Thursday, 15th August
The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is also known as the Feast of St. Mary. It is celebrated across various villages in both Malta and Gozo. A great devotion to St. Mary after the first three ships of the Santa Marija convoy arrived to save Malta from starvation near the end of the Second World War. At this time of year, it is a tradition for many Maltese people to take a short holiday to the neighbouring island of Gozo.
Feast of Our Lady of Victories – Sunday, 8th September
Feast of Our Lady of Victories commemorates several important events that happened on this day. The Great Siege of 1565 against the Ottoman Empire, riots against the French in 1800 and the day the Second World War ended. The Grand Harbour hosts traditional regatta boat races and even the highest Maltese authorities take part in the various celebrations. Also on this day, Senglea, Naxxar and Xaghra host religious feasts to commemorate the events of September 8th.
Independence Day – Saturday, 21st September
After many eras of being subject to foreign occupation, Malta gained independence on the 21st September 1964 when it left the British Empire. This day is considered as one of the most significant dates for the Maltese and activities are held all across Malta to remember those who worked incredibly hard to achieve independence and the sacrifice they made for the Maltese people.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Sunday, 8th December
The Maltese people hold the Feast of the Immaculate Conception very close to their hearts. On this public holiday, Catholic believers go to the church whilst small feasts are organized across Malta and Gozo to celebrate this cherished day in memory of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
Republic Day – Friday, 13th December
On December 13th 1979, Malta became its own Republic state. A President of Maltese nationality replaced the Queen of England as the Head of State. On this day, wreaths are laid over the Republic Day monument in Marsa.
Christmas Day – Wednesday, 25th December
Celebrated across the world, Christmas is a joyful event, especially for children. A magical time for families to have a traditional Christmas lunch and exchange gifts, it also has religious significance in Malta. All across the island on Christmas Eve, which is not a Malta Bank Holiday, processions take place with a statue of Baby Jesus before culminating in a traditional Midnight Mass.
Malta bank holidays 2018 are regulated by national holidays and other public holidays act. Keep in mind that if holidays fall on a day of rest, they are not moved to working day.