In exactly a month’s time from now, we will scattered all around Malta in a hectic day for religion, culture, traditions, music, which brings with it Good Friday.
One of the most popular, religious, outdoor events in the world is the Semana Santa in Spain, especially in Seville. The processions, the sounds of weeping music and religiosity amalgamated with traditions and culture, makes this festival of faith something to look up to.
In Malta, we have a strong tradition for the same occasion but we jam pack all of the processions mostly in two days.
There are currently twenty-two processions being organised in Malta. Which are held in this order:
Our Lady of Sorrows:
Gozo: Xewkija (1)
Malta: Hal Ghaxaq (2) , Hal Gharghur (1),
Gozo: Rabat (1) (once every two years), Qala (1)
Malta: Mgarr (0)
Gozo: Rabat (2) (once every two years)
Malta: Naxxar (2), Mosta (2), Haz Zebbug (1), Hal Luqa (1), Valletta (1), Cottonera (3) , Zejtun (2), Hal Qormi (2), Paola (1), Rabat (1)
Gozo: Rabat (1/2), Nadur (2), Xaghra (1), Zebbug(1)
All in all we have Twenty Two processions going on in Malta and Gozo. But are we really taking the advantage of having all of these processions?
We are not exploiting the potential, both religiously and logistically of these big events organised by volunteers and NGOs. Certainly it is a burden for the wind bands, which have always been an integral part of these religious manifestations, that have to manage to find musicians in a tight situation where we have lack of musicians, but it is also defeating the purpose of gathering people together to see the processions, to evaluate the artistic and traditions of them and most importantly the religious part of these events.
Now lets take in consideration that we might have six days of processions, a Semana Santa, all in all this tradition we have was migrated to us by the Spaniards. How much better would it be for all the enthusiasts, musicians, the wind bands, the tourism, the culture itself, without even mentioning traffic control.
We should also have in mind the religious part of this, how far better would it be to have pilgrims from all over Malta and why not Europe concentrated in three localities and not Fourteen at a given day. It will also give room for further improvement of the procession itself. Lets take that we have Three processions every day with Good Friday & Palm Sundays having four processions. We can also have up to three wind bands in each procession, adding more music to the procession, involving more people, more societies, and engaging in more religiosity.
Are we ready to change this situation to protect our traditions and to safeguard our cultural heritage?