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Last Freedom Day to be celebrated as national holiday

Prime Minister to present Bill reducing national days from five to three

1 April 2016, 7:00am
Joseph Muscat (right) is ready to remove Freedom Day from Malta's list of national holidays
Joseph Muscat (right) is ready to remove Freedom Day from Malta's list of national holidays
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is taking up recommendations from employers bodies to reduce Malta’s national days to three in a Bill he intends presenting before the summer recess, Labour delegates told this newspaper.

The legal amendments, part of a Bill dealing with competitiveness issues, will remove the 8 September Victory Day and the 31 March Freedom Day by amending Chapter 252 of the Laws of Malta.

The national days remaining will be Independence Day, Republic Day, and Sette Giugno.

Labour Party delegates who are aware of Muscat’s intention told MaltaToday that three business bodies presented the PM with a dossier calling for the removal of four national days, and the feast of St Joseph.

“The government will retain Independence Day and Republic Day as the two national days that mark Malta’s constitutional sovereignty,” a party source told MaltaToday.

“The party committee was told that Freedom Day was only important for Labour, as the day that the British forces’ lease on the military base ran out, while Sette Giugno is by far a more important day to remember for that reason.”

Sette Giugno commemorates events which occurred on 7 June 1919 when, following a series of riots by the Maltese population, British troops fired into the crowd, killing four men.

Victory Day, locally known as Il-Vitorja and il-Bambina, marks the surrender of Italy during World War II in 1943, as well as the victory of the Knights of St John ending the Great Siege by the Ottoman empire of 1565.

The day is also connected to the Nativity of Mary, and feasts are celebrated in Xaghra, Naxxar, Senglea, and Mellieha on the day.

MaltaToday understands that the traditional regatta that features boat races in the Grand Harbour will be held on the nearest Sunday falling before the 8 September.

Malta’s other public holidays, apart from Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, are St Paul’s Shipwreck (10 February), St Joseph (19 March), Worker’s Day (1 May), St Peter and St Paul (Mnarja, 29 June), Assumption of Our Lady (15 August), and the feast of the Immaculate Conception (8 December).