Our Lady of Victories Date: September 8
Our Lady of Victories is a Public Holiday celebrated in Malta.
Our Lady of Victories – a remembrance ceremony in Valletta to celebrate the lifting of the 1565 barricade against the Turks, the surrender of the French in 1800 and the end of the barricade of the Axis powers in 1943. The customary multihued and keenly-contested boat race, or regatta, is also held at the Grand Harbor on this day. Our Lady of Victories is also known as the Festa of the Nativity of Our Lady or simply Victory Day. There is patron saint festival held in the parish churches of the following towns on this day too: Naxxar, Mellieha, Senglea and Xaghra on Gozo.
Our Lady of Victories History
Our Lady of Victories was built in 1656. It is known as a juspatronatus, that is, the noble family that owned the surrounding land had the right to nominate the parish priest, or rector, who would look after the church. This privilege was held by the D’Amico Inguanez family of Mdina (Imdina). The titular painting was done by Pereira.
In 1965, the Parish was put under the pastoral care of the Paulist Missionaries, a community of priests and brothers, established in Malta in 1910, with the aim of going to mission lands and of helping Maltese emigrants. The first member of this congregation to become Parish Priest at Horsley Park was Fr Claude Borg MSSP. In 1963, the feast of Our Lady of Victories was organized for the first time. The first year a small statue of Our Lady was used for the procession.
Later on the statue of Our Lady of Victories, which is used in St Mary’s Cathedral for the Maltese feast, was brought over for the Horsley Park procession. In September of 1967 a new statue of Our Lady of Victories was ordered for Horsley Park Parish. The Feast of Our Lady of Victories became a cultural event and many people from far and wide used to attend. In the first years, the procession with the statue of Our Lady of Victories used to leave the church, turn left onto Walgrove road, left onto Redmayne road and back along Walworth road.
Our Lady of Victories Day Customs and Activities
Other than Malta, this day is also popular in UK – An all day event organized under the auspices of the Malta High Commission in London: Maltese Fair at Westminster Cathedral Hall in the morning (at about 10.00am), Solemn Mass in the afternoon (about 2.30pm) followed by Street Procession with the Statue of Our Lady of Victories, (il-Bambina), with brass band and fireworks. In the evening the celebrations will continue with a Gala Dinner & Dance, during which, the cabaret will include some top Maltese entertainers brought from Malta especially for this occasion. This is an event that no true Maltese should miss! Over the years many Maltese participated in this festivity that is growing in popularity among the Maltese Community. Everyone is invited to attend and demonstrate their devotion to Our Lady, Mary Help of Christians.