… is definitely not a greeting that ever crossed my mind before moving to Malta. However, on the 10th of February, this was exactly what I wished people who talked to me.
Malta has a long-standing relationship with the Catholic faith. Christianity came to Malta in the form of a shipwreck – more specifically, Apostle Paul’s shipwreck in 60 AD, which is still celebrated each year.
Apostle Paul was on his way to Rome as a political prisoner when a terrible storm ensued, resulting in a shipwreck. Paul and the other prisoners struggled to reach the closest piece of land, which turned out to be Malta. The Maltese people welcomed the shipwrecked passengers and treated them with kindness and hospitality. According to legend, Paul healed the father of the chief of Malta, which led to the conversion of many locals to Christianity. This event is seen as a pivotal moment in the spread of Christianity to Malta and is still celebrated annually as Shipwreck Day.
Today, this event is commemorated annually as Shipwreck Day in Malta and to summarise, Shipwreck Day is a vibrant and colourful celebration, with a variety of festivities and events taking place throughout the day. One of the main highlights is the traditional procession, which features statues of Saint Paul and other religious figures carried through the streets on ornate floats. The procession is accompanied by music, singing, and dancing, creating a lively and joyful atmosphere. Another important aspect of the holiday is the food and drink, with locals preparing traditional dishes like rabbit stew and fresh fish. Wine and beer flow freely, and visitors are encouraged to join in the feasting and revelry. Finally, Shipwreck Day is also a time for local customs and traditions to be showcased, such as the creation of intricate street decorations made from colourful flowers and lights. All in all, Shipwreck Day is a wonderful opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of Malta in a fun and festive setting.
As a migrant to Malta, I’ve come to appreciate the unique character of this small country. The combination of its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and warm hospitality make it a truly special place. With every passing day, I uncover more of this gem and its fascinating stories, like the tale of the shipwreck that brought Christianity to Malta.