September 8 recalls some of the most important historic events from the glorious and eventful history of the Maltese Islands. The main celebration, apart from the religious feast celebrated in Mellieha, Naxxar, Senglea, and in Xaghra, Gozo, is the commemoration of the victory of the Knights of St John and the Maltese in the Great Siege over the Ottoman Turks in 1565. In fact, a commemorative ceremony is still held annually in Valletta, by the Great Siege Monument in front of the Courts. Nowadays, September 8 is considered as one of the five National Holidays on the Maltese Islands.
On September 8, other historic events like the capitulation of the French in 1800, and the siege of the Axis powers in 1943 are commemorated.
September 8 is also linked with a particular tradition: the colorful and keenly contested boat race or regatta, which is held at the Grand Harbour in the afternoon, with many Maltese people crowding the nearby Grand Harbour area to watch this event.