Lent pilgrimage sees 70 statue-carriers

Knisja.mt / Ritratti

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

70 statue-carriers participated in the penitential Lent pilgrimage held today, on People’s Sunday, in Żabbar.

The statue of Our Lady of Graces accompanied the pilgrimage, along with priests, clergy, religious societies, corporate bodies of the parish and pilgrims. Mons. Pawlu Darmanin, Garissa’s Bishop Emeritus, was also present.

The pilgrimage started at 4.15pm. Afterwards, Mass was concelebrated with the participation of the Notre Dame choir.

The tradition dates back to centuries before the arrival of the Order of St John in Malta. With the arrival of the Knights, Carnival became a popular celebration, and pilgrims would visit the Sanctuary on Ash Wednesday. This was an act of penance, and people fulfilled vows, prayed and asked for God’s blessing. The date slowly shifted to the first Sunday of Lent.

In the seventeenth century, this event evolved into a feast similar to Imnarja and San Girgor. However it was revived around 80 years ago with the use of floats and groups that celebrated the history and devotion to our Lady of Graces. In recent years, the pilgrimage regressed to its original form, acting as penitence and thanksgiving.