GXF members since 2010
LC Website: http://www.lc.gov.mt/Page.aspx?catid=74&pid=184
Telephone no: 21689168
Mayor: Mr. Johan Mula
Ħal Safi is a village of 1,979 people (November 2005) in the southeast of Malta, near Zurrieq and part of the Luqa airport.
The formation of the village as known today goes back to about seven hundred years. The village of Ħal Safi was surrounded by four other major villages. Farmers and peasants used to meet there for a chat on their way back home from work. Later a niche was erected there,and in time,as people began to settle in the vicinity, a new village started taking shape.
In 1417, the village was already known as Ħal Safi. According to the 1419 records of the Standing Army (id-Dejma), between eighty and ninety people were considered as village residents. The main occupation of the major part of the residents was farming – breeding of sheep and goats and agriculture.
The origin of the village’s name cannot be determined conclusively. Some historians have concluded that the name was derived from the PURE (Safi) AIR of the village. Others insisted that it is similar to Ksour Essaf in Tunisia or that the village was named Ħal Safi since none of its residents was contaminated when an epidemic infected the whole country. Both its coat of arms (a horizontal light-blue stripe on a silver background) and its motto (Sine Macula) emphasize the meaning of its name.
Back in 1575, a small feast in honour of Saint Paul was already being celebrated in church. Then, in 1725, external celebrations were added on. A procession with the relic of St. Paul was first held in 1732. In 1840, a statue of St. Paul, sculptured in wood by Xandru Farrugia of Zejtun, was introduced and paraded during the procession. That year, feast celebrations were organised to their very best. These included ground fireworks, petards, band services and liturgical ceremonies. From that year onwards, band services became a fixed contribution and in 1874 a stage was constructed purposely for the band. Since feast celebrations were expanding year after year, a feast club (St. Paul’s Club) was set up in 1929 to help with the feast’s organization.
Four outstanding feasts were celebrated in 1960, in 1984, in 1998 and in 2008. The first one commemorated the arrival of Saint Paul on our island; the one celebrated in 1984 commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Consegration of Ħal Safi Parish Church; the third one commemorated the 400th anniversary of Ħal Safi Parish, whilst the fourth commemorated “Is-Sena Pawlina”. Pilgrimages, sermons, choir participation, band services and fireworks were organised to commemorate each anniversary.
Up till the year 1959, the feast in honour of St. Paul was held on January 25. From 1960 onwards, mainly due to January’s bad weather, this feast was diverted to the last Sunday of August .
In the year 1971, a new feast hymn was composed by Mro. A. Muscat Azzopardi to lyrics written by Paul Callus. Then in 1981, another hymn was written, this time by J. Zerafa and composed by Mro. E. Bugeja. A major hymn called “Is-Sejha”, written by Paul Callus and composed by Mro. Ray Sciberras came into being in 2002.
In the past, the most common job occupied by Ħal Safi residents was in the agriculture sector. Others were soldiers employed by the Standing Army. Some others were sailors, builders, stonedressers, white-washers and quite a number of residents were street hawkers.
Soon after the Second World War, many farmers left their fields to join the government sector. Nowadays, the work force is vaster and includes employees in the government sector, private sector, dry docks, factories. In addition, one can find several self-employed persons and contractors. Lately, the trend has changed and the number of University qualified people is always increasing earning high profile jobs such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants and management personnel. Farming is now mostly done as part-time and to some extent more as a hobby than as a means of making a living.
By the end of the Second World War, the street lanterns and the drinking fountains became obsolete, and instead, improved services such as electricity, sewage, postage mail, telecommunication, water and other services were introduced. In 1962, the construction of a new and modern school was initiated to replace the one situated in St. Paul’s Street.
In the 80’s a playing field adjacent to the school was inaugurated, later refurbished with synthetic turf in 2000. In 1986, a public health clinic started to operate in Saint George Street. Moreover, the number of houses and consequently the number of residents is always increasing. In fact, from latest statistics, the population of Ħal Safi has reached one thousand and eight hundred persons. Furthermore, the number of retail outlets multiplied in the last few years. The most two common surnames in the village are Busuttil and Zammit.