Victory Day (Il-Vitorja), one of 5 national holidays in Malta.
Il-Vitorja, or il-Bambina, is one of 5 National Holidays in Malta, and is celebrated on the 8th September. On this day the Maltese people commemorate important historic events, including the victory of the Knights of Malta over the Ottoman Empire during the Great Siege of 1565, the rebellion against the French troops which resulted in the end of the occupation of Malta in 1800, and the armistice of the Fascist regime in Italy during the Second World War. In the latter, this meant that the bombardments by the ‘Aeronautica' were over and that the Italian Navy was to be brought to Malta to remain moored at St. Paul's Bay until the end of the Second World War.
The 8th of September also has a religious significance where the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (Maria Bambina/Our Lady of Victory) is celebrated, not only in Malta, but throughout the Catholic Church. Religious feasts are in fact celebrated in Senglea, Mellieha, Naxxar and Xaghra, displaying a wonderful set of fireworks throughout Malta and Gozo.
The celebrations of this national day are not limited to the religious feat only. The day is kicked off by various State ceremonies amongst which a parade by the Armed Forces of Malta. Wreaths are also laid at Fort St. Angelo in Birgu and on the Great Siege of Malta monument in Valletta.
The traditional Regatta races are the focus of the afternoon events where both locals and tourists flock to the Grand Harbour to watch and follow their favourite rowing team. These boat races are very avidly contested and bring out the competitiveness of the participants that would have been preparing and training for them all year. The Victory day regatta can be traced back to 1822.
In the evening Misraħ l-Assedju in Valletta is usually transformed into a centre for performance arts.