In just a few weeks, the Valletta Cultural Agency will be organising Belt il-Beltin, a community festival commemorating Valletta’s Foundation Day between the 28th and 29th March.
This festival, aimed at strengthening Valletta’s rich cultural heritage and celebrating its residents and communities, is inspired by the official opening of Valletta 2018. For this festival, the VCA is working closely with several Valletta groups and communities, including those who organise Valletta’s feasts, band clubs, parishes and sport clubs, which have all come together to create a series of activities. These activities will be enjoyed by both the Valletta residents themselves, as well as the general public visiting the capital over the weekend.
“Belt il-Beltin is a festival that will bring together the various organisations within Valletta. Through this festival, the occasion of Valletta’s Foundation Day will be given a different perspective and will add to the various activities carried out on the day. This is being done so that we may continue to leave a legacy in the capital city for present and future generations,” stated the Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera.
Valletta Cultural Agency Chairman Jason Micallef said that Belt il-Beltin is another legacy project of Valletta 2018 which celebrates the work and talents of Valletta groups within the Valletta community.
Belt il-Beltin, curated by Victor Jacono, will be spread out on two days. Saturday will be characterised by the ‘Olimpjadi tal-Beltin’ – a series of fun games taking place in St George’s Square between noon and 5.00 pm. On both Saturday and Sunday, the participating Valletta groups will be opening up the spaces where they work and congregate for the general public to visit.
Games will include a football match where participants need to score as many goals as possible against their opposing team while wearing the traditional carnival ‘maskerun’. Participants will also compete against each other in teams to build a traditional festa decoration (it-trofew tal-festa) and to complete a puzzle made up of pictures of saints cut up in several pieces in as little time as possible. The fourth game will see participants consuming a full meal of ravioli, dessert and wine, while the fifth and final game will see participants compete to solve a challenging riddle about a particular spot on Valletta’s map.
Among the groups and communities opening up their spaces to the general public are Għaqda tal-Pawlini, Għaqda Festi Esterni San Duminku, Rovers United (Valletta) YC, Valletta FC Youth Nursery, Valletta Stars St Dominic’s AFC, Soċjetà Filarmonika King’s Own and Soċjetà Filarmonica La Valette. Through these visits, the public may get to know these communities better.
Belt il-Beltin, which is being held in collaboration with the Valletta Local Council, falls on the anniversary from Valletta’s Foundation Day. Apart from the activities forming part of this festival, the Valletta Local Council has prepared a varied programme of events for the occasion. Valletta Mayor Alfred Zammit announced these activities, which include a thanksgiving mass at St John’s Co-Cathedral, followed by the placing of flowers on the Valletta Foundation Day memorial stone, and the awarding of ‘Ġieħ il-Belt Valletta’ at the Local Council. His Excellency the President of Malta Dr George Vella, together with Mrs Vella, will be attending on this special occasion.
The programme also includes entertainment by Tikka Banda and a classic car show in Republic Street, band marches along Valletta’s main streets with the participation of Società Filarmonica Nazionale La Valette and Soċjetà Filarmonika King’s Own, as well as a concert by Spiteri Lucas Band and singers from Valletta at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, bearing the name of ‘Belt tal-Maltin’.
Belt il-Beltin is created as part of the Valletta Cultural Agency’s cultural programme launched earlier this year, in collaboration with the Valletta Local Council.