Festivals Malta has lauched the programme for the feast of St Gregory to be held on Wednesday 4 April in Żejtun and on the Marsaxlokk promenade. Like last year, the rich programme starts early in the morning and continues late into the afternoon. The events include religious celebrations, among them the pilgrimage from Chapel of St Clement, to the parish of St Catherine in Żejtun and the Church of St Gregory, as well as entertainment by many Maltese folk singers (għannejja) and musicians along the Marsaxlokk promenade. These activities are organised by Festivals Malta in collaboration with the Local Councils of Żejtun and Marsaxlokk.

The St Gregory Day activities form part of the Għanafest festival under Festivals Malta and celebrates local folk culture. With this feast, we also extend our commitment to expose għana in events other than Għanafest and, after last year’s successful fringe event in Marsaxlokk, we are very happy to be back in this popular Maltese fishing village.

The St Gregory pilgrimage dates back centuries although no one knows exactly when and why it began. There are many theories regarding this, among them a vow to bring to an end a tragedy such as a plague or the destruction of crops, or a thanksgiving for a storm which warded off a pirate attack on the Maltese Islands. What we know for certain is that this ritual has been taking place since at least 1543 because of notarial documents which describe it and which indicate that it had already been taking place since long before.

For further information about the feast of St Gregory and the Għanafest programme, visit www.għanafest.com.

Feast of St Gregory programme in Żejtun and Marsaxlokk promenade

4 April

09:45     Pilgrimage starts at the Chapel of St Clement in Żejtun and heads towards the parish of St Catherine where the Miserere will be sung. It will be led by Archbishop Charles Scicluna, together with the Metroplitan Chapter, parish priest, the clergy and the Archconfraternity of St Joseph of Rabat and Mdina.

The pilgrimage will continue from St Catherine’s parish church to the old parish church known as St Gregory’s Church. The In Guardia parade will accompany the pilgrimage along St Gregory Street. The members of this parade will take their position next to the cross on the side of the parish church and, from there, will accompany the pilgrimage towards St Gregory’s church. In Guardia will be mostly representing the religious section of the Order of St John. From here, it will be accompany the processional cortege towards the Church of St Gregory.

10:30 Mass at St Gregory’s Church with the participation of all present.

10:45 Għannejja Joe Aguis (tas-seba’ rġiel) and Anġlu Theuma (il-kina), guitarists Johnny Saliba (ta’ Birżebbuġa) and Victor Grech (iż-Żabbari), two animal-drawn carts and In Guardia will take their place on the parvis of St Gregory’s church.

Traditional Maltese games such as passju, żibeġ and boċċi will be played on the parvis of St Gregory’s church. There will also be various artisans working their trade.

11:00  Għana and Daqq tal-Prejjem on the parvis of St Gregory’s Church.

11:20 The Għanafest 2018 press conference will be held on the parvis of St Gregory’s Church.

11:30 Għannejja and guitarists commence their journey to Marsaxlokk on animal-drawn carts.

12:00 The defilé arrives at Marsaxlokk Parish Church.


Stage at the centre of the Marsaxlokk promenade

12:15 Daqq tal-Prejjem: Guitarists Group 1

12:25 Għana tal-Botta u r-Risposta: Għannejja Group 1

13:10 Christabelle Scerri

13:40 Daqq tal-Prejjem: Guitarists Group 2

13:50 Għana tal-Botta u r-Risposta: Għannejja Group 2

14:30 Makkjetti: Michael Brignioni (il-ġurdien)

14:40 The Greenfields

15:05 Daqq tal-Prejjem: Guitarists Group 3

15:15 Għana tal-Botta u tar-Risposta: Għannejja Group 3

16:00 End


Stage at the end of the promenade

(further up from the convent where għana used to be sung spontaneously)

12:30 Daqq tal-Prejjem: Guitarists Group 3

12:40 Għana tal-Botta u r-Risposta: Għannejja Group 3

13:20 The Greenfields

13:45 Daqq tal-Prejjem: Guitarists Group 1

14:00 Għana tal-Botta u r-Risposta: Għannejja Group 1

14:45 Christabelle Scerri

15:15  Daqq tal-Prejjem: Guitarists Group 2

15:25 Għana tal-Botta u r-Risposta: Għannejja Group 2

16:05  Makkjetti: Michael Brignioni (il-ġurdien)

4:15  End



Guitarists             Johnny Saliba (ta’ Birżebbuġa), Frans Casha (tas-Saqajn)
Għannejja           Joe Agius (tas-seba’ rġiel), Anġlu Theuma (il-kina), Anthony Coleiro (kulajru) and Alfred Desira (l-Indjan)

Guitarists            Reuben Schembri (il-fusinu), Francesco Cutajar (tad-Danny) and Vince Carabott (il-Bukku)
Għannejja          Żeppi Ellul (iż-Żebbuġi), Żaren Ellul (ta’ fellusu), Kalċidon Vella (id-Danny) and Mario Xuereb (ta’ Gerald)

Guitarists            Calcidon Vella (ta’ Mustaċċa), Joe Bonello (Skuti) and Denise Vella (Ta’ Kalċ) 

Għannejja          Manwel Ellul (il-Beġiġ), Fredu Abela (iż-Żejtuni), Joe Busuttil (il-Bużu) and Anthony Carl Cutajar (il-Pikkolin)