Last night we went to the culmination of the week long local feast here in Zabbar. In celebration of the patron saint Madonna of the Graces. As we neared the church in the central piazza there were crowds of people lined up to go inside and then coming out, when I asked A. if there was a ongoing kind of mass or something he explained that this is when you either thank the Madonna for the miracle you asked for a year ago or you go to make a promise for the year to come. Although I am not religious I was tempted by the thought of having a focus for ones hopes...and wondered about what brought people as I watched the many old and young faces coming out ... old worried looking women, hopeful young couples... graying weathered anxious looking men...(as I struggled to hold hands with my two wanderlust children) the third got to go inside the church on A's back and seemed to fully enjoy the lights and splendor.
Not to go on too long about this feast but it is also well known here in Malta for it's Motorcycle (and now bicycle as well) pilgrimage around the island which finishes at the church on the Sunday ( sorry didn't manage to take any photos) . Also it (like many villages in Malta) has two very popular local marching bands which march round the town the day before the procession with the statue(which was last night). The bands known as the 'blue band club' and the 'green band club' each have their own home building/restaurant/bar and devote followers. In the past the band clubs and their respective followers have come to blows so it's a wee bit tense round these parts. Half our ally is decked out in green banners, lights etc. and the other half are all done up in blue.