Malta Republic Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

The small European island country of Malta annually celebrates its Republic Day or ‘Jum ir-Repubbika’ on 13th December. This day celebrates the anniversary of the creation of Republic of Malta.  

On 13 December 1974, the constitution of Malta revised, which resulted in the transforming the State of Malta into a republic, effectively abolishing the role of Reġina ta’ Malta (Queen of Malta) in the country. 

Today this day is celebrated as a public holiday in the country as a result schools and most businesses remains closed on the day. It is one of the five national days in Malta.  

Event Malta Republic Day
Date December 13, 2022
Day Tuesday
Significance The day celebrates the anniversary of the creation of Republic of Malta
Observed by Malta

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Malta Republic Day History: 

Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. Malta’s prehistory ends in around 700 BC, when the islands were colonized by the Phoenicians. They ruled the islands until they fell in 218 BC to the Roman Republic. The island was acquired by the Eastern Romans or Byzantines in the 6th century AD, who were expelled by Aghlabids following a siege in 870 AD. The islands were given to the Order of St. John in 1530, who ruled them as a vassal state of Sicily. Later, Malta was colonized by the French, and their aggression towards the Maltese Catholic traditions made the French very unpopular among the Maltese. 

During the Napoleonic Wars, the British came to the aid of Malta, which led to Malta seeking the protection of the British Empire. Malta became part of the British Empire in 1814, as convened in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Napoleonic Wars. The islands became an important naval base for the British, serving as the headquarters of the Mediterranean Fleet. Due to this, Malta was attacked by the Axis powers during World War II, and in 1942 the island was awarded the George Cross, which today appears on Malta’s flag and coat of arms. The Crown Colony of Malta was self-governing from 1921–1933, 1947–1958 and 1962–1964. 

Following the passage of the Malta Independence Act 1964 by the British Parliament and the approval of a new Maltese constitution by 54.5% of voters in a referendum, the State of Malta (Maltese: Stat ta’ Malta) was formed on 21 September 1964 as an independent constitutional monarchy, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta and head of state. The date continues to be celebrated annually as Independence Day (Maltese: Jum l-Indipendenza), a national holiday in Malta. On 1 December 1964, Malta was admitted to the United Nations. 

Even though Malta was considered to be independent from Britain, it was still partly governed by the Queen of Malta, who bore a constitutional role. Then in 1971, Malta’s constitution was revised through insistence of the Labour Government, turning Malta into a Republic State. As a Republic, Malta abolished the role of the Queen of Malta and elected its first ever President of the Republic, the then governor-general, Sir Anthony Mamo. Even though Malta became a republic, the British fleet remained on the island providing financial and defensive benefit until the 31st March 1979, marking Freedom Day.  

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Malta Republic Day Significance: 

Malta is a small but rich European country and it is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean, between Sicily and the North African coast. The country is known for its historic sites related to a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British. Maltese tourist attractions include numerous fortresses, megalithic temples, and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. It’s a tiny nation with just over 500,000 people. The official languages are Maltese and English, and 66% of the current Maltese population is at least conversational in the Italian language. 

The 13th December marks a very special day on the Maltese calendar, Republic Day! This day commemorates a very important historic event in the nation’s history. As it symbolizes the will and strength of the Maltese citizens. As when they were occupied by French they fought with determination against the invaders and allowed Britain to liberate them. Then Maltese citizens also showed immense bravery in their fight against Nazi during World War 2 and then as a promise they officially gained their independence from Britain then finally becoming republic at last.  

Malta Republic Day is a great way to learn about the nation. It had a central role in the region for centuries and affected many other cultures. As Malta was dominated by many nations because of its political and geographical significance. Because of this, Maltese ways affected other nations around it. Hence the small nation of Malta actually had been more significant and impactful for the continent’s history then it might looks! Hence this day also encourages people to take a look at Malta’s history. 

On Malta Republic Day, it is the opportunity for people to learn more about Maltese culture. This day encourages us to find out more about Malta’s contribution to the arts and culture, and the diversity found in them. On the other hand for the Maltese citizines this is a day which encourages them to fully celebrate and display their identity and culture proudly. It also gives them an opportunity to express their love towards the country. 

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Malta Republic Day Celebrations: 

As a national holiday, Republic Day includes a variety of different stately events and celebrations. Perhaps the most awaited event is the yearly Awards Ceremony, where the President of the Republic of Malta, with which this holiday is most commonly associated with, presents the ‘Ġieħ ir-Repubblika’ award. This honour is granted to those individuals within military or political institutions, as well as to public figures who act as notable representatives of the country.

Apart from this award ceremony, Republic Day also features a grand fireworks display over the Grand Harbour, as well as a wreath-laying ceremony by state officials at the Republic Day monument in Marsa. Closing the festivities is a yearly ‘Trooping the Colour’ military parade in St. George’s Square, Valletta. 

As member of the commonwealth, Malta joins in this British Military tradition where the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) soldiers and band march in a parade with the Presidential Colour. This is followed by a salute from the President of the Republic of Malta. The ceremonies close with a Fue de joie from the AFM. 

Malta Republic Day FAQs: 

1. When is Malta Republic Day celebrated? 

Malta Republic Day is annually celebrated on 13th December. 

2. What does Malta Republic Day commemorates? 

Malta Republic Day commemorates the day of 13 December 1974, when the constitution of Malta was revised, which resulted in the transforming the State of Malta into a republic, effectively abolishing the role of Reġina ta’ Malta (Queen of Malta) in the country. 

3. What is Malta famous for? 

Malta is a popular tourist destination and known for its warm climate and breathtaking landscapes that serve as locations for major film productions. The archipelago is home to some of the oldest temples in the world, such as the Megalithic Temples of Malta. 

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