what are irdieden?

Malta it is an old tradition that fireworks displays accompany our numerous religious feasts all over the island. The festa season kicks off with the feast of St. Publius just after Easter Sunday, and ends with the feast of St. Leonard in mid-September.Irdieden Firework preparations commence in mid-October when the local temperature starts to drop. In Malta there are about 33 licensed fireworks factories.

One of the traditions in fireworks is what is normally known as Catherine Wheels or Irdieden. These type of wheels are very popular and are presently being constructed in large forms. There are Irdieden of nine meters diameter and even larger. These constructions are fixed to wooden masts which are then fitted into holes in the ground of the village square.

Irdieden displays are mainly staged on the eve of a particular feast being celebrated. Displays usually start at about 23:00. All shows normally start with a wheel of one meter in diameter. This is a notification to all spectators that the display is about to commence.

Normally, a wheel consists of six drivers tied in sequence to the circumference of the wheel. The wheel also has a few lances fixed to the inside so that while the wheel spins, beautifully colored designs will be formed. One wheel lasts about a minute. After these come the mechanical and mechanized wheels.

Mechanical and Mechanized Irdieden

The main part used in several mechanized Irdieden, is the universal joint which was first introduced in 1960, for the feast of Santa Marija at Mqabba, by Joseph Ghigo. The universal joint was used to keep a six pointed star circulating simultaneously. The universal joint was one of the great inventions that revolutionized Irdieden.

From that point onwards the universal joint underwent modifications and was used to produce more beautiful shapes.

More Complicated Irdieden

Greater and more complicated Irdieden were constructed. Some of these included the use of bicycle chains, gears and O-rings. Also crown wheels, pinions, and cogs were used. All this was introduced to form more beautiful kaleidoscopic effects. The usage of these mechanical parts depends upon the effects you wants to produce. More movements will produce more effects!!!

Different Shapes Different Styles Different Sizes

The Grand Finale

Every display ends with a Grand Finale with each village having its own tradition. This consists of a number of poles, each with small wheels attached to it. Normally the number of poles depends upon the size of the village square. The minimum used are 3 poles and the maximum used are 9 poles. These are ignited instantaneously using electric igniters.
The Grand Finale