Għaxaq (Maltese: Ħal Għaxaq, Maltese pronunciation: [ħal aːʃaʔ]) is a village in the Southern Region of Malta, with a population of 5,538 as of November 2021. [1] The surrounding areas is predominantly used for agriculture.

Ħal Għaxaq
Għaxaq skyline
Għaxaq skyline
Flag of Għaxaq
Coat of arms of Għaxaq
Laeta Sustineo (Ħienja nżommu)
Coordinates: 35°50′54″N 14°31′2″E / 35.84833°N 14.51722°E / 35.84833; 14.51722
Country Malta
RegionSouthern Region
DistrictSouth Eastern District
BordersBirżebbuġa, Gudja, Luqa, Marsaxlokk, Santa Luċija, Tarxien, Żejtun, Żurrieq
 • MayorDarren Abela (PL)
 • Total3.9 km2 (1.5 sq mi)
 (Nov 2021)
 • Total5,540
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Għaxqi (m), Għaxqija (f), Għaxqin (pl)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code356
ISO 3166 codeMT-17
Patron saintAssumption of Our Lady Padron of the church
Day of festa15 August
First week of June
WebsiteOfficial website
Parish priest Dun Gordon Refalo

The village's name likely originates from the surname of a local noble family, Axiaq (also spelt Axiak or Asciak), who were feudal landholders in the 14th century.[1] However it may be derived from the Maltese word meaning delight.[citation needed]

Saint Mary's Parish Church edit

Għaxaq Parish Church decorated for the main village feast dedicated to Saint Mary
Saint Mary's Statue (1808) known as Santa Marija or L-Assunta

Għaxaq's main church is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady and it is known for its baroque architecture. The present church was consecrated on 2 May 1784, after around fifty years of hard work by the villagers, who gave a helping hand in building their religious shrine.

There are a large number of artistic and valuable items in this church which were made by renowned Maltese and foreign artists. [citation needed]

Statues edit

The titular statue which depicts the Assumption in heaven of our Lady was carved in wood by Mariano Gerada in 1808.[citation needed] Another statue in this church is that of the Main Secondary Feast of Saint Joseph, which was made by Fratelli Bertarelli of Milan, Italy in 1932 and is also carved in wood.

Other statues are those of Our Lady of the Rosary carved in wood by Alessandro Farrugia, Our Lady of Fátima, and a set of traditional eight statues depicting the passion of Jesus Christ. These were made throughout the years with statues of Maltese artists Peppi Vella, Carlo Darmanin, and family Camilleri Cauchi, namely Alfred and Aaron Camilleri Cauchi.

The statue of dead Christ known as Il-Monument was brought to Għaxaq from Rome in the 18th century.

Paintings edit

The paintings which decorate the church's ceiling were painted by Emvin Cremona during the 1960s while other works of art date back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries mostly painted by Maltese artists; Gio Nicola Buhagiar, Francesco Zahra, Rokku Buhagiar and Gianni Vella among others.

Feasts edit

Apart from the Titular feast of Saint Mary, which is celebrated annually on August 15, other feasts are celebrated throughout the year. These are:

  • The commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ and his rise from death- with the traditional Good Friday procession, which in Għaxaq is held on Palm Sunday evening
  • Celebrated a Sunday before Easter, the Main Secondary feast of Saint Joseph celebrated on the first Sunday of June
  • Corpus Christi on the second Sunday of June
  • Our Lady of the Rosary on the second Sunday of October.

These are all organized by their respective confraternities.

On the night between the 24th and 25th of December, a solemn mass is held to celebrate Christmas.

Band Clubs edit

Saint Mary Band Club Ħal Għaxaq A.D 1873 edit

In 1808, this club was set up from simply a wine shop to the majestic band club present today.

Since 1808, the village has been documented to have celebrated this feast, both the religious part and the secular part, with vigor and pomp. The religious aspect was reflected in the fact that an artistic statue was made by a well known sculptor Mariano Gerada. This was financed by Gio Maria Farrugia (1763–1828) and cost 800 scudi. An artistic plinth was also made. The Farrugia family tree is endorsed at St. Mary's Band Club.

It was at Ta' Petistina that the first general sitting was held, and it was agreed that the first official committee members were to be drawn following a ballot. The first steering committee was elected, and was made up of Felic Gatt, Joseph Grima, Joseph Scicluna and Geraldu Scicluna. More members were added, like Agius, Abdilla and Gravina. Later on, in 1935, a band was also formed under the name Santa Maria Band.

Today, the band club boasts a great number of members and followers and it is also renowned for the organization of the Għaxaq Music Festival, a 2 to 5 day festival organized before the feast of Saint Mary in August. Since 2008, the Festival has featured renowned World Artists and Tribute Bands such as: Tracy Shields in a Tribute to Celine Dion (2008), Rhapsody UK in a Tribute to Queen (band) (2009 and 2011), U2UK (2009), ABBA UK (2010), Gimme ABBA (2011), Sheyla Bonnick from Boney M. (2011) and the group SMOKIE (2012). This festival started in 1998 as a Street Concert and since then it has also featured several Maltese groups and singers such as Tribali, Wintermoods, Scream Daisy, Freddie Portelli, Joe Brown Band, and renowned Maltese "Għannejja" among other well known local artists and DJs such as Carl Bee, DJ Ruby, and DJ Armani.

The Club also possesses several artistic street decorations, having a large number of statues and pedestals dating back to more than 100 years ago. These, together with new sets of drapes, chandeliers, and other statues decorate the village during the first two weeks of August.

Saint Joseph Band Club edit

The Saint Joseph Band Club was established in 1874 with the principal object of organizing and enhancing the feast of St. Joseph in collaboration with the Confraternity of Saint Joseph, an older Catholic Church organization dating back to around 1689. Since then, the Band Club has taken under its remit the external festivities while the Confraternity has concentrated on the liturgical celebrations. The Club used to also participate in the feast of the Assumption of St. Mary until the early 1950s, when this participation was discontinued.

The Band Club's biggest ever project is surely its premises. During a project spanning from the early 1980s until the official opening in May 2000, the Club acquired both previously rented and adjacent property, demolished the existing structures and rebuilt a unitary building. The building is considered as a prime example of Maltese Baroque architecture, and in certain aspects takes Maltese craftsmanship to new heights.

The Band Club is also in possession of two other separate properties: a fireworks factory that is renowned for the quality of its festive fiery production; and a feast decorations factory, comprising a workshop and stores for the Baroque street decorations. The fireworks factory won the Villa de Bilbao international fireworks festival edition of 2010 against world-renowned international opponents.[citation needed]

The Club's own band and other guest bands play the typical Maltese band-marches to the general merry-making of the Josephite supporters, guests and tourists who are always welcome to join. Street concerts are also held, many times attracting national attention.

Carnival edit

One annual event is the carnival celebration held in February.[2]

The carnival celebration is reported to have been around for roughly 150 years, and also features a children's parade, an idea backed by the local council to encourage more children to take an interest in their local culture. [3]

Interesting places in Għaxaq edit

The Għaxaq Semaphore Tower, which was built in 1848
  • Dar tal-Bebbux/Dar tal-Massi - sea-shells decorated house (St. Mary Street, behind the parish church)[4]
  • St. Philip's Chapel (at St. Philip Square)
  • St. Lucy's Chapel (at the Outskirts of the village)
  • Christ the Redeemer Chapel (at the outskirts of the village)
  • Together with the Parish Church and the two masterpieces, the Band Clubs (as mentioned above)
  • Għaxaq Semaphore Tower

Zones in Għaxaq edit

  • Bir id-Deheb (Well of Gold)
  • Ħas-Saptan (Saptan Town)
  • Il-Miksur (The Broken)
  • Qasam Ħal-Dmikki
  • Tal-Barrani (Foreigner's Village)
  • Tal-Garda
  • Tal-Ġebel (Rocks' Village)
  • Tal-Millieri
  • Tal-Qattus (Cat's Village)
  • Tal-Wilġa (Open Field's Village)

Għaxaq main roads edit

  • Dawret Ħal Għaxaq (Għaxaq By-Pass)
  • Triq G.M. Farrugia (G.M. Farrugia Street)
  • Triq il-Belt Valletta (Valletta Road)
  • Triq il-Ġistakor (Tail-Coat Street)
  • Triq il-Garakol (Garakol Street)
  • Triq il-Gudja (Gudja Road)
  • Triq il-Milwa (Skein Street)
  • Triq iż-Żejtun (Zejtun Road)
  • Triq San Filippu (St. Philip Street)
  • Pjazza San Filippu (St. Philip Square)
  • Triq Santa Marija (St. Mary Street)
  • Vjal il-Labour (Labour Avenue)
  • Triq it-Tgezwira
  • Triq Ganmari Dalli
  • Pjazza Santu Rokku (St. Rocco Square)
  • Triq San Pawl (St. Paul Street)
  • Triq il-Knisja (church's street)
  • Triq Marjanu Gerada

Għaxaq Local Council edit

The current Għaxaq local council members are:

  • Darren Abela (Mayor - PL)
  • Christine Dalli (PL)
  • Rose Agius (PN)
  • Keith Fenech (PL)
  • Andreas Gatt (PL)

Sport edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Ħal Għaxaq". lc.gov.mt. Archived from the original on 8 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  2. ^ Demarco, Joanna (24 February 2019). "Ghouls and satire: This alternative carnival in Ghaxaq will make your hair stand on end!". Guide Me Malta. Archived from the original on 24 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Tiny floats in Għaxaq as imagination abounds". Times of Malta. 23 February 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Error | Maltapark". Archived from the original on 6 July 2019.

External links edit