Usually, at this time of year, on the eve of Our Saviour’s feast in Lija, fireworks enthusiasts used to flock to the central areas in Malta to watch the much-anticipated fireworks show. This year, however, instead of getting ready for the spectacle, we found the volunteers at their factory, preparing for next year.
Lija is well-known for its spectacular fireworks show each year, especially on the eve of the feast.
Contrary to previous years however, two days before the feast, at the St Michael fireworks factory, we found some of the volunteers sitting in the shade and those in the inside rooms were preparing the material for next year.
TVM asked: “Has this ever happened before?” “This is the first time, and we have never been so quiet,” said Christian Debono, “We are doing whatever we can, no matter how small.”
“It is rather depressing, let’s face it, because normally we would be getting ready for the show for the eve of the feast, but this year it has turned out like this,” explained Jesmond Bezzina.
As expected, fireworks enthusiasts, including the youngest one, Miguel Borg, seemed disappointed that the work they did last year was used in two feasts in Gozo in June and July, while part of it is stored in the warehouses, and the rest will be let off during a small show on Thursday evening.
“We have four traditional firework displays and then a small show to salute our patron saint the best way we can this year,” he said.
This year, the fireworks enthusiasts were going to celebrate the 40th year since their factory became the first one in Malta to win an international competition abroad, in Monaco. However, because of the pandemic, processions and the external celebrations have all been cancelled.
In Lija, the sacristan Aaron Cuschieri told us that the feast in this village does not involve any pique, and there is a great devotion towards Our Saviour which is central to the social life of the community. During the feast we all unite, fortunately, in Lija it is still like that.”
Mr Cuschieri said that the religious aspect of the feast will still be held on Thursday and he thanked TVM2, so that those who cannot physically attend will be able to follow what is happening on TV from 9am in the morning. “The pontifical Mass will be held, which is the highlight of the feast.”
And while it is one of the most popular feasts, especially because of its fireworks, Christian Debono hopes that everything will go back to normal next year. “I am praying to God maybe next year we can do everything properly, we will have to wait and see.”