The Climax of Saturday Night

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The expectant crowd awaits the start of the march on Saturday – the second most important event of the festa. This is on the main street of the town, and notice the red and black flag, the colours of Hamrun.
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The march kicks off. One of the most highly contested. On one side there is the St. Joseph (blue) and beyond them, barely a few metres distance, are the San Gejtanu followers (red) and their band. The enthusiasm is fever-pitch here as they try to out-sing and out-insult one another. All this in front of the parish church of San Gejtanu.
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Flags waving like a sword cutting through the humid air
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One of the more important bars of the town, Civic Club, est. 1955, and its terrace giving out directly onto the two marching bands.
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Now its midnight. An hour left until the end of the night. Respective band clubs and they’re intoxicated supporters settle themselves in front of their band-clubs and begin a raucous concert, playing the club’s favourite, most provocative anthems.
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The San Gejtanu band-club. Right now they’re playing one of the most risque of anthems, which basically tells the other band-club to muck off – but the singing is catchy! Everyone knows the words, everyone joins in! 
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This is the view of the main street from the balcony of the Labour Party Club; this is whilst the band-club of St. Joseph are parading around the side streets of the town. The crowd here are waiting for their return in front of the church.
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View of the steps and entrance of the church. The San Gejtanu church was built in the 1870’s in a Neo-Romanesque style has paintings by leading local artists and has a dome that took almost a hundred years to fund and complete. Like in any Maltese towns, it is the heart of the town.
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Right next to the Labour Party Club, is the balcony of the St. Joseph band-club. Notice the contrasting red and blue balconies stood cheek by jowl. The source of much tension in past decades.
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Main entrance of the church where the statue of San Gejtanu is normally kept and will be returned tomorrow night via an epic run up the steep stairs with the massive, bulky statue.
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This is the scene in front of the San Gejtanu band-club as the supporters await the return of their band from the procession. The style of the band-club’s decorations dates back to the Baroque style of aesthetics introduced in Malta by the Knights of St. John. On one occasion in the club’s history its president was also the president of Malta, Anton Buttigieg.
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The fever of the end of the night. At 1am the two bands play their anthem march and call it a night. Most of the die-hard supporters stay out drinking in the band-clubs and other bars, and tomorrow they will wake up early to prepare for the 11am opening and 3pm climax.
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And of course the end of the night wouldn’t be complete without fireworks!

 

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