MALTA 2009

  New set of bells for Zabbar

Blessing of the 6 new Zabbar bells, with great pomp


A set of six new bells cast by the world known PACCARD Bell Foundry of Annecy (France) were taken to Zabbar on Sunday  16th of August. The bells were specially manufactured for the Church Our Lady of Grace. It was a very emotional event for the few 18000 inhabitants of the city.

Indeed, in this Archipelago lost in the blue waters of the Mediterranean sea, people are very attached to their bells.


It has been a very emotional moment for Philippe PACCARD, director of the PACCARD Bell Foundry, who had his wife and their five children with him for the occasion,The whole family took part in the blessing of the bells dedicated to Our Lady of Graces, the patron saint of the parish. With their characteristic warmth, Maltese peolple greeted them as guests of honour.

The largest bell of the peal :
a 1000 pounds A 3.

This set of bells brings to 39 the number of PACCARD bells in Malta. The oldest documented Maltese Paccard Bell is in the bell tower of the Xaghra Church (Church of Jesus of Nazareth), in Gozo, the second biggest island of the Archipelago. The bell was cast in 1910 by Georges (1839 -  1914) and Francisque (1848 - 1912) PACCARD.

The eighth generation took an active part in the ceremony.

The representatives of the 8th generation - Antoine (13 years), Thomas (12 years), Quentin (9 years), Corentin (7 years) et Clément (6 years) - were actively involved in the ceremony, singing, among other things, the Ave Maria during the blessing …
The 6 bells of the Zabbar Church Madonna Tal-Grazzja (A3 , D4, E4, F# 4, G4, and A4) will ring (among other tunes) the Ave Maria of Lourdes and of Fatima (see the video).

As Our Lady of Grace is the patron saint of  cyclists, a motorcycle and bicycle pilgrimage had been organized as a cortège for the  6 new bells. This pilgrimage takes traditionnally place on the first Sunday after the 8 September, day of the village feast.

A Zabbar tradition :
the motorcycle and bicycle pilgrimage.

A key component of a Maltese feast : the band

A strong competition exists between the village's two band (the Blues and the Green)
who were in harmony on this very special day. They even have clubed together to jointly offered one of the 6 bells which now bears the name of the two bands : the Società Filarmonica Maria Mater Gratiæ (the Blues) and the Għaqda Madonna Tal-Grazzja Banda San Mikiel (the Greens).

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