At Maltese festival, climbing the greasy pole is part of the fun


ST JULIAN’S, Malta (Reuters) – For more than a century, locals in the small Maltese town of St Julian’s have celebrated their patron saint by running up a steeply angled log, smeared with lard, protruding over the sea.

The goal is to grab increasingly difficult-to-reach flags.

The unconventional form of worship is the centerpiece of the Feast of St. Julian, which takes place in late August, and dates back to the 1800s.

Men, women and children take part in the contest, running up a 30-foot-long pole, known as the gostra, suspended over the town’s harbor. Whether they win or lose however, the competitors all ultimately end up in the water.

Competitor Carden Mizzi tries to grab a flag as he falls off the “gostra”, a wooden pole covered in lard, during the main competition, part of the celebrations on the religious feast day of St Julian, patron of the town of St Julian’s, Malta, August 27, 2017.Darrin Zammit Lupi

“While I stand there right before I go up, I have a bad feeling in my…

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