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Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Big Bangs Begin Today

Awesome Pyrotechnic Displays
Malta International Fireworks Festival 2012
Time to watch the ‘Big Boys’!  If you have ever visited, going to visit, or are living in Malta, fireworks are a part of life.  If you have not experienced the fireworks, now that is a sin!  The Maltese love their fireworks, particularly the petard bombs during festivals.  You can hear Petards exploding at all hours of the day, evening and sometimes into the night.  The Maltese like to set these ‘bombs’ off in celebration for the feast of the patron saint in each village or town.  Once a year Malta has a spectacular firework show synchronized to music. This is one of the events not to be missed.   The International Fireworks Festival is now in its eleventh year and Malta is celebrating the eighth year of joining the European Union.
The Fireworks displays and International symposium on fireworks start April 21st through May 1st. Firework factories from Canada, the UK, Austria, Croatia, Poland and St Michael's of Lija, Malta will be performing.  Firework displays are to be held in several locations around the island, Floriana, Mdina, Mellieha, St Paul's Bay, Grand Harbour and Gharb, Gozo to name a few.  Also a cruise liner has also been scheduled to stay overnight to allow the passengers to see the grand finale at the Grand Harbour, Valletta.  Some say that a good view point is at Barriera Wharf on the Valletta sea front or from the top of the bastions of the Grand Harbour.  The firework events are free of charge.
Malta has a tradition of fireworks that dates back to the 16th century.  The Knights of Malta would shoot canons and muskets in celebration on special occasions.   According to Wikipedia the Petard bomb dates back to the 16th century and was used to blow up fortifications.  Although in modern day usage the word Petard refers to home-made fireworks in Malta.  This tradition of setting off explosives, or fireworks, as they are called now, continues.  Malta’s fireworks development and the continued use of them, has been influenced by the British and Italians. 
Malta is famous for its festivals over a three month period.  Every parish church has a patron saint and holds a feast with processions, bands, and of course fireworks.   According to Professor Alfred Vello there were thirty nine firework factories in Malta in 2011 (Times of Malta November 30th 2011).  After a number of fatal accidents and incidents at some of the factories, the Maltese government has amended the regulations to ensure the safety of all involved.  Those manufacturing and handling fireworks are required to be qualified and licensed (Control of Fireworks and other Explosives (Amendment) Regulations, 2012). 
Enjoy the shows!
For detailed information on the various locations and times go to www.maltagroundfireworks.com and http://www.maltafireworksfestival.com/#!about