Sette Giugno – June 7, 2023

Sette Giugno, or June 7, also celebrated on June 7, is one of Malta’s five national holidays. Unfortunately, Sette Giugno means nothing more than a day off from work and a chance to enjoy a beverage by the sea. Though we recognize that sipping that cocktail is a delightful experience in and of itself, we also believe learning about Malta’s history and why they have national holidays in the first place is critical.

Sette Giugno, or ‘Seventh of June’ in Italian, is an annual Maltese national festival commemorating events that occurred on June 7, 1919. Following a series of uprisings by the Maltese population, British forces fired into the crowd, killing four and wounding 50 people.

History of Sette Giugno

Malta’s strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea has made the islands a vital site from classical times, with the islands changing from one monarch to the next over the centuries. The British helped Malta remove the occupying French army in 1800, and the Maltese people petitioned to become a sovereign nation inside the British Empire. This was formalized in 1815 by the Treaty of Paris. Following the end of World War I, tensions had risen due to the colonial government’s failure to secure basic supplies for the island. As a result, some merchants were perceived to have profited from the scenario, while others fared poorly.

Some were skeptical of a change in the governor of the island in early June 1919, and on June 7, a crowd began removing British flags from buildings. The mob rose in number and turned their focus to the residences of merchants who had profited from the recent supply shortages. A standoff between the mob and the army ended in tragedy, with the military shooting and killing three protestors and injuring fifty more. The rebellion lasted a few days, during which time a fourth citizen died as a result of injuries sustained while fighting arrest. The rebellion was brief, but its impact was significant: within two years, a new constitution granting the Maltese people more control, was in place, followed by an election.

The Sette Giugno monument was unveiled in Valletta’s Palace Square in 1986. The Maltese Parliament designated the day as one of the island’s five national holidays, with the first formal commemoration taking place on June 7, 1989.

Sette Giugno timeline

1916
Dockyard Employees Form a Union

The Dockyard employees go on strike after being promised a 10% wage raise that is widely seen as insufficient to keep up with the expense of living.

1919
Riots by the Maltese Masses

On June 7 the riots by the Maltese population begin, which reflect the unsatisfactory state of Malta’s economic and political life.

1986
Sette Giugno Monument Unveiled

The Sette Giugno Monument is unveiled in Valletta’s Palace Square, which is where the ceremony now takes place.

1989
Official Remembrance of the Day

The Maltese Parliament designates the day as one of the island’s five national holidays, with the formal commemoration taking place this year.

Sette Giugno FAQs

What was the cause of rioting before Sette Giugno Day happened?

In a nutshell, food. Or at least, that’s how it began. The First World War had just finished, and the locals were fed up with the lack of food. Because the war had wreaked havoc on agriculture and the food business.

How many people died?

British forces fired into the crowd, killing four and wounding 50.

What is the meaning of Sette Giugno?

It’s from Italian for ‘Seventh of June’ is a Maltese national observed every year on June 7.

How to Observe Sette Giugno

  1. Attend the remembrance

    Attend the remembrance of the 1919 Riot in Valletta’s St. George’s Square or a similar event in Xaghra. This is followed by a wreath-laying ceremony over a Sette Giugno monument.

  2. Watch the band march

    A band march is held in Valletta’s St. George Square in front of the Sette Giugno commemorative monument. It is followed by a speech from the Prime Minister.

  3. Visit the National Library of Malta

    It houses historical records that make it appear almost like a museum of Maltese history. It also holds a vast collection of Maltese authors’ writings.

5 Interesting Facts About Malta That You Never Knew

  1. Water from the ocean

    Maltese people’s drinking water is filtered directly from the ocean and this is because the country lacks surface waters such as lakes and rivers, it must rely on the ocean for fresh water.

  2. Rabbit stew is the national dish

    The national dish of Malta, also known as ‘Stuffat tal-Fenek’, has been relished for centuries.

  3. One-of-a-kind bakery treats

    Malta is well-known for its delicious cuisine, and local bakeries play an important role, with various bread and pastries such as Pastizzi and Qassatat.

  4. Location of iconic Game of Thrones sequence

    Malta was the location for some of the most iconic sequences from the renowned T.V. show.

  5. Paradise on the blue lagoon

    The majority of the water surrounding Malta is a typical Mediterranean blue and is a renowned tourist destination on the island of Comino that has been attracting visitors for years!

Why Sette Giugno is Important

  1. A day of remembrance

    Sette Giugno is a day to remember those who died in 1919. Commemorate this day with us.

  2. Huge impact on class differences

    It was a spontaneous and violent uprising by the Maltese masses against Malta’s privileged class. It was also an uprising against British soldiers in response to increased bread prices.

  3. Malta’s first revolution

    It represents a major step in the fight against colonialism and the establishment of the labor movement and trade unions. We celebrate the fight for freedom on this day!

Sette Giugno dates

YearDateDay
2023June 7Wednesday
2024June 7Friday
2025June 7Saturday
2026June 7Sunday
2027June 7Monday

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