Il-Gostra – the greasy pole – was a much sought after event at seaside festas. The long pole smeared thick with grease and fat was mounted on a coal barge and towed to and fro harbour town and seaside village during the festive summer months. Today this challenging game is only held in Msida for the feast of St. Joseph and in Spinola Bay, St Julian’s.
Each year on the afternoon of the last Sunday in August, crowds throng the bay walls and promenade to watch the young and not so young men attempt to wrest the three flags fixed at the top of the pole: the blue and white flag of the Madonna, the yellow and white Vatican standard and the Belgian tricolor representing the ancestral homeland of St. Julian. Prizes are awarded to the successful challengers who take centre stage with their village colleagues.
As a way of giving back to the community of St. Julian’s, every year Gululu is the main sponsor of the “Gostra” competition and provides all trophies for the competitors, as well as refreshments during the competition. After the competition all the competitors are invited back to Gululu for a celebratory meal.