Commemoration ceremony in Xaghra for the two Victories of Malta
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This coming Wednesday, the two Victories of Malta in the years – 1565 and 1943, are being commemorated by Xaghra Parish, in conjunction with the National and Regional Celebrations Committee within the Ministry for Gozo and Xaghra Local Council, during a ceremony to be held on the newly refurbished Xaghra Square.
The ceremony gets underway at 9.30am with a Solemn Thanksgiving Mass at Xaghra Basilica.
This will be followed at 10.30am with a speech of introduction by Xaghra Mayor Joe Cordina, then will continue with a reenactment with the participation of, locals from Xaghra, by the Xaghra Historical Reenactment Organisation, including the triumphal entry of Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette nd the Captain of the Order of St John accompanied by Knights and Maltese soldiers.
Going round the Square, the Captain of the Order reads out various proclamations by Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette. One states that following the victory of the Knights and the Maltese over the invading army after a five month long siege in 1565, the Grand Master declared that the 8th Day of September was to be remembered every year as the day of victory. Another states that the Day was to be dedicated to Our Lady of Victory.
The Malta Police Force Band will perform a display and a Guard of Honour will be made by the Armed Forces of Malta.
The commemorative ceremony concludes with the laying of wreaths in front of the Great Siege monument which was temporarily set up in Victory Square, followed by the National Anthem.
The 8th of September commemorates the end of the Great Siege of 1565, this year marks the 450th anniversary of the Great Siege of Malta; the epic 1565 battle that made a legend out of a little island that, against all odds, withstood invasion from an empire.
The Great Siege of Malta commenced in May of 1565 when the Ottoman Empire began invading the island of Malta, which was then occupied by the Order of the Knights of St John.
After several months of continuous battle and bloodshed the Siege came to an end on the 8th of September, a date that continues to be commemorated with the annual public holiday Il-Vitorja.
It also marks the end of the French occupation of Malta in 1800 and coincidentally 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.
Photos: 2015 ceremony by Alain Salvary