Malta’s Love Affair With Fireworks: Malta International Fireworks Festival

Every year Malta celebrates its entry into the European Union with a spectacular fireworks display. Since 2004, the event has been a way for local fireworks factories to show off their skills in competition. Since 2006, the Fireworks Festival has become an international event, open to other countries such as Austria, Canada, Croatia, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Each contestant has 14 minutes to show off their skills, which must be accompanied by music from their own country. The competition usually lasts for more than three days in the Grand Harbor of Valletta. In 2012 the format of the Malta International Fireworks Festival changed. Organized by the MTA, the festival will now run for just over a week. This gives local fireworks producers who are not competing the opportunity to show their hard work to the general public. The event will no longer be limited to Valletta, but will now take place in various locations on the island and Gozo. Floriana, Mdina, Mellieha, St Paul’s Bay, Grand Harbor and Garb on Gozo will all have exhibits.

Malta has a long history with fireworks. Dating back to the King’s Knights, cannons and muskets were sounded to celebrate the return of an important dignitary, announce the birth of a prince, or commemorate the appointment of a new grand master or pope. This visual as well as noisy display is believed to have inspired the use of fireworks in all manner of celebrations today. Without the bonfire, it is believed that fireworks such as Musketterija (fireworks launched from rooftops), Solfarelli D’aria (a colorful series of shots into the sky) and Jigjifogooh (Saint Catherine’s wheel) might not be as good. popular today on the island.

More recently, the island entered the history books by manufacturing the world’s largest sprocket or Irdieden as it is known to the Maltese. On June 18, thousands gathered to watch Malta break the Guinness World Record. Designed by the Lily Fireworks Factory in Mqabba, the diameter of the wheels measured an impressive 32.044 m (105 ft 1.56 in). This surpassed the previous record holders, England. His wheel was only 26 m (85 ft) and he held the world record for 12 years.

The production of fireworks has and continues to be a long tradition on the Maltese island. There are over thirty five different factories in Malta, still making fireworks. The fireworks production can be seen throughout the year with an international fireworks symposium held every two years.

The main competition is held in Valletta every year, with boats taking people out to sea for a better view. Accommodation and holiday rentals in Malta are highly sought after at this time. Visitors and locals alike hope to catch a glimpse of the fireworks, either from the sea or from land.