I can remember going to the festa my whole life.
I am in my early 40s and the festa has been something that my family attended every long weekend when I was little.
As I grew with my own family, I would miss some festas as we would go camping on the long weekend, however, once the festa moved away from the long weekend it again became a highlight of our family’s calendar.
My first memories of festa was seeing all our family and friends whom we hadn’t seen in ages.
Everywhere you turned there was someone that we knew and we would spend ages chatting amongst the huge crowds. And then, at 8pm, we would go to our friend’s place who lives opposite the park and watch the fireworks and eat pastizzi. It was awesome!
I love the community atmosphere. The festa is about giving thanks for all that we have been blessed with and the community joy and festivities on festa day definitely bring that to life. It also is a reminder of where my heritage lies.
I’m excited to share this with my children.
Festas are vital in Maltese culture as they celebrate the patron saint of a particular village. In Malta the festivities go for a whole week and if you go to Malta in the summer months you will find three or four festas on every weekend.
The local village takes great pride in celebrating the feast of the village, giving thanks to God for the many blessings and the patronage of that particular Saint.
This tradition has continued in Australia with the many migrants bringing this tradition with them. In Sydney and in Melbourne you will see the festa tradition continuing in some shape or form.
The feast day in honour of Our Lady of Victories, now known in Greystanes as Our Lady Queen of Peace, has been celebrated in Malta across three centuries to mark the protection and intercession of Our Lady in three significant sieges – the siege of the Turks in 1565; the occupation of the French in 1798; and the joint attacks of the German and Italian armies with Operation Hercules in 1942.
The Maltese people believe that through their true faith, prayer and dedication to Our Lady, she came to their aid through her intercession as Mother to all.
Over a conversation recalling the festivities in Malta in celebration of Our Lady’s intercession and a strong desire to bring those celebrations to Greystanes, a group of friends came together and decided to raise funds by collecting glass bottles and exchanging them for cash, door to door knocking seeking donations from surrounding Maltese businesses and benefactors along with other fundraising ventures, their dreams came to fruition with the first festa of what was then commonly known as Our Lady of Victories being held in 1965.
From the beginnings of a strong Maltese ethos, our parish has grown into a multicultural family with now over 75 different nationalities coming together to celebrate in communion the nurturing protection and intercession of Our Lady. On this day, we celebrate the Patroness of our Parish – Our Lady Queen of Peace.
We are very excited about this year’s festa. We begin the celebrations with Mass at 3.30pm. After Mass is the traditional procession with the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace.
Afterwards the festivities begin with the traditional rides, entertainment by the Our Lady Queen of Peace Maltese band and of course pastizzi and Kinnie.
This year we have added some market stalls, we have some information stalls as well as the Maltese Rugby League Club attending. There will face painting for the children and also a performance by the local primary school band. And of course a great community spirit culminating in the traditional fireworks display at 8.30pm.
A Maltese festa isn’t a proper festa without Pastizzi and Kinnie. We expect to sell about 700 dozen pastizzi and about 1,000 bottles of Kinnie.
There will also be pizza, meat pies, hot chips, coffee, wraps and ice cream.
Lisa Bright is the President of the Our Lady Queen of Peace Festa Committee.
The Our Lady Queen of Peace Festa 2018 will be held at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes on Sunday 7 October 2018 at 198 Old Prospect Road, Greystanes