Ceremony on Friday to commemorate the two Victories of Malta
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Next Friday, Gozo will commemorate the two Victories of Malta of – 1565 and 1943, organised by Xaghra Parish, in conjunction with the National and Regional Celebrations Committee within the Ministry for Gozo and Xaghra Local Council.
The Victory Day ceremony, is taking place on Friday, the 7th of September, and will get underway at 8.30am with a Solemn Thanksgiving Mass at Xaghra Basilica.
There will be reenactments of the Great siege of Malta 1565, the Black Plague 1814 and scenes fro the Second World War as part of the morning’s programme.
At 10.00am the ceremony of remembrance continues in Xaghra Square, with a speech of introduction by Xaghra Mayor Joe Cordina.
This is followed by 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 and the Captain of the Order of St John accompanied by Knights and Maltese soldiers.
The reenactment will include the Captain of the Order walking round the square as he reads out various proclamations by Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette.
One proclamation 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 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 end of the Great Siege of 1565 is commemorated on the 8th of September, this year marks the 453rd 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.
The connection with Malta in 1943 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 by Alain Salvary