Friday, 24 August 2012

Celebrating our communities

I've been away.  Actually my family and I have just returned from a fortnight's holiday in Gozo.  If you don't know - Gozo is a small island - roughly 9 miles by 4 miles just to the north of Malta with a population of around 30,000.  We've had a wonderful time.  In the whole two weeks (which included trips to and from the airport and to Malta's capital Valetta) we didn't use a whole tank of fuel.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous - and on Monday of this week all 5 of us were swimming with fish!  I thoroughly recommend it!
Blue Lagoon - swimming with fish

St Lawrence
On our second day there we were woken up at 8 in the morning with what sounded like canon fire.  I was somewhat non-plussed by the regular bangs - and wondered whether there was some sort of military exercise going on.  Actually there wasn't - it was just one of the smallest communities on Gozo from the village of San Lawrenz celebrating St Lawrence day.  In fact they didn't just celebrate the 8th August - they celebrated for 5 days until the 12th with the fireworks morning and night - together with various processions and other gatherings.  I've said it before - but I do think we in Frodsham should make far more of celebrating St Lawrence's day!

the view from our terrace
Then there was the Feast of the Assumption on the 15th August - with its bank holiday, more processions, horse racing in Victoria (Gozo's capital) and the mandatory fireworks for 4 days morning and night and other excuses I never did quite fathom out for other communities letting of fireworks.  

Now I know FTC's 8 minute firework displays at New Year cost around £1,500 to put on.  The amount of ordinance I saw and heard fired off suggested over £0.5m worth of fireworks were being fired off over the 14 days of our holiday!  I'm sure they weren't spending that much - and in fact they had their own non-governmental organisation responsible for all the firework displays!
this was a dress rehearsal on 14 August
Along the main road into Victoria - the crowd was on the shady side of the road!
And then there were the flags. Not just any standard sized flags - they went in for enormous flags.  Any excuse a flag was put up.

The small town we were staying in Xaghra - had 'Xaghra Rocks' on 11 August where the local council with the community put on a free music show in the town square supported by the local businesses.  There must have been over 1,000 people watching and taking part - and this from a town of around 4,200 people.

The Gozitans and the Maltese really love their festivals and celebrating their communities.  Now could we learn to do more?