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Saint Paul is the patron saint of Malta, so his feast day on February 10 is celebrated in lavish style throughout the island. The beautiful Baroque Cathedral of St. Paul in Mdina is filled to capacity with worshippers during this week. Then, during the summer, there are several festas throughout the island every week, and some of the largest are of course in Valletta. This tradition, which dates back to the 1500s, honors saints with very lively celebrations of music and fireworks.
Festivities building up to the feast day often last a week or more. Churches are decorated in grand style, as are some houses. Friends invite each other to drink and eat, with one of the traditional foods being a type of nougat unique to the Maltese. Vespers and mass precede fireworks on the eve of the feast days, and most people attend Solemn High Mass on the morning of the feast day itself. Popularly celebrated feast days on the island include the feast days of Saint Rita of Cascia on May 22, Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16, Saint Dominic on August 8, and Saint Augustine on August 28.
Carnival is a boisterous affair in Valletta, where balloons, parades and music fill the streets during the day and the nightclubs and bars become packed at night. People dress in colorful, outrageous costumes and dance in the processions that wind through the city. There is also a harvest festival in the fall that is widely celebrated. L’Imnarja, a folk festival marking the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, is celebrated on June 29. On this day, families often picnic in parks and gardens while local bands play traditional music.