Posted on February 10, 2017
This religious feast day is also a public holiday in Malta -- which is one of 16 reasons that Malta has more holidays than most.
How do they pack so many holidays into such a small nation? (Malta is also one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world.)
Well, there are apparently eight Christian public holidays in Malta (and that doesn't include Easter, arguably the most important Christian holiday, because Easter always falls on a Sunday and so doesn't need to be dubbed a "public holiday" in order for people to get off work). Add to that number the usual New Year's Day, Mother's and Father's and Worker's Days (in some nations the latter is called Labor Day), and four different patriotic holidays...and you've got a lot of public holidays!!!
In contrast to Malta's 16 public holidays, the United States has only 9 (generally, although public holidays vary by state), and only Christmas is a religion-based public holiday.
Malta is clearly way more into Catholic feast days than is America, and it is no wonder, since a whopping 98% of its population is Roman Catholic, and Catholicism is in fact the nation's official religion. (In contrast, only around 20% of Americans - that is, people who live in the U.S. - are Catholic, and the U.S. has no official religion.)
Today's particular holiday celebrates something very, very old: according to the Bible, Paul (along with Gospel writer Luke) became shipwrecked on an island called Melita back in the year 60 A.D. Paul hung around and preached about his very new religion for three months. Most people agree that Melita is an old name for Malta.
Malta is made up of several small islands. It has no forests, no mountains, no rivers.