The Feast in Xlendi Bay

August 25, 2017

During the winter season, Xlendi Bay enjoys the tranquil and serene pace of a fishermen’s village that comes to life mainly during the weekend.  On the contrary, the summers in Xlendi are busy and many locals and tourists visit the beach at different times of the day to enjoy the bay and sea.  In the evening, Xlendi is the perfect place to unwind dining al fresco or simply enjoying a quiet evening in the cove.

The community in Xlendi celebrates the feast on the first Sunday of September.  The feast cannot be compared in terms of scale to the other village feasts but it still encapsulates the quintessential elements of traditional festa and more!  Here’s why:

  •  The church perched on the cliff side, with its parvis overlooking the bay, is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The church is decorated with damask for the feast and similarly, even the main road and streets are gaily decorated with festoons of lights and flags.
The church interior decorated for the Feast Day.
The church interior decorated for the Feast Day.
  •  Naturally, the church holds the services associated with the feast and organises the full festivities including the procession with the statue. The statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a smaller but very sweet statue is taken out of the church and around the port. The procession includes the band which plays the marches and a fireworks spectacle brings to an end the procession once the statue returns to the church’s parvis.
The procession with Our Lady of Mount Carmel through the streets of Xlendi.
The procession with Our Lady of Mount Carmel through the streets of Xlendi.
Fireworks light up the sky in Xlendi
Fireworks light up the sky in Xlendi
  • One unique feature of the feast in Xlendi is the water sports competition that is held on Saturday afternoon. These include swimming, paddle boat and kayaking races in the bay.  Water games are also part of the fun and spectators cheer on the competitors from various vantage points around the bay.  There is no doubt that the highlight of the event is the Gostra. This is a greasy pole that protrudes diagonally from the rocks onto the sea. Competitors have to try to slither across the pole and reach out for the flag which is at its end.
Gostra – the traditional greasy pole activity held on Sunday afternoon along with other water sports competitions!

Save the date. This year the feast of Xlendi is on 2nd September!  It’s typically quaint and charming in every sort of way!

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