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General information

The word 'Imnarja' is corruption of the word 'luminarja' which in turn is derived from the Latin word Luminare, meaning "to light up". This refers to the way people manifested their joy in recognition of a particular feast, such lighting being offered by burning bonfires and candles. This feast has somewhat moved away from the traditional village ‘festa' style and has developed into a unique celebration.

Festivities begin on the eve of L-Imnarja with an agricultural show held in Buskett Gardens - a small tree grove situated some one kilometre away from Rabat. The event continues overnight through to the following morning with folk-singing and folk-music competitions. The traditional food of the evening is fried rabbit.

On the following day, bareback horse and donkey races are held in a country lane situated just below and at some distance from Mdina. The contenders vie for the Palju (a traditional banner that is presented as a trophy to the winners of various categories of races) which in olden times used to be presented to the winners by none other than the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St John.

 

Source: Malta Tourism Authority