1565 and 1943 Victories of Malta commemorated in Xaghra ceremony
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A commemoration ceremony to mark the two Victories of Malta of 1565 and 1943, took place on Xaghra Square this morning, organised by Xaghra Parish in conjunction with the Xaghra Local Council.
The programme for the morning started with a Pontifical Mass at Xaghra Basilica, this was followed by a speech of introduction on Xaghra Square by Mayor Joe Cordina.
It was a beautiful sunny morning for the eternal activities, which included a reenactment with the participation of locals from Xaghra, by the Xaghra Historical Reenactment Organisation, the highlight of which was the triumphal entry of Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette and the Captain of the Order of St John accompanied by Knights and Maltese soldiers.
The Captain of the Order went around the Square and read 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 performed a display and there was a Guard of Honour by the Armed Forces of Malta.
Present for the ceremony was the Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana and other dignitaries.
This morning’s commemorative ceremony concluded with the laying of wreaths in front of the Great Siege monument which was temporarily set up in Victory Square, and was followed by the National Anthem.
The 8th of September commemorates the end of the Great Siege of 1565, this year marks the 452nd 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 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, for this 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.
Photographs: Alain Salvary