Today is Jum-I-Indipendenza (Independence Day) in the Republic of Malta. Celebrated annually on September 21, the day marks the nation’s independence as a Commonwealth realm (granted in 1964), within the Commonwealth of Nations, with Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of Malta.
Malta became a republic on December 13, 1974. This is commemorated as a separate holiday called Republic Day. It gained absolute autonomy on March 31, 1979 (which Malta celebrates as Freedom Day).
Traditional festivities to mark its Independence Day include a Pontifical Mass attended by the country’s prominent leaders, and the laying of flowers on the Independence Day Monument in Floriana.
Valetta, which is dubbed the Fortress City, Citta’ Umilissima, is a “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen.” It is Malta’s capital city, “a living, working city, the administrative and commercial heart of the Islands.” The capital is derives its name from its founder, the esteemed Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Jean Parisot de la Valette. The magnificent fortress city was built on the arid rock of the Mount Sceberras peninsula. It is famous for its impressive bastions, forts, and cathedral. Among its interesting titles that have been inspired by its rich historical past are: the “modern city built by the Knights of St. John” “a masterpiece of the Baroque,” “a European Art City,” and a “World Heritage City.”
Valetta has the St. John’s Co-Cathedral and museum. The church is elaborately adorned and houses the world-famous artistic masterpieces by Caravaggio and Mattia Preti. Valetta’s other places of interest include the various grandmaster auberges, piazzas, and museums.
The Philippines and the Sovereign Order of Malta established diplomatic relations in 1965. Fra’ Angelo de Mojana di Cologna was the first Prince and Grand Master of the Order to visit the Philippines on February 1, 1979. The March, 2015, visit of Fra’ Matthew Festing, the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Malta has an embassy in Manila, while the Philippines has a consulate office in Swatar.
We greet the people and government of the Republic of Malta led by President Marie Louise Coliero Preca, on the occasion of its Independence Day Anniversary.