Qormi, with almost 20,000 inhabitants, is the second largest township on the island. Because of its position on the low-lying land near Grand Harbour, Qormi played a distinct role throughout its ancient history. At one time, parts of Valletta, Marsa and Hamrun depended on it as an administrative and parish centre.
The town today is divided in two parish districts: The old parish of St. George and that of St. Sebastian, created in 1935.
Nevertheless, Qormi is still considered as one unit for administrative purposes.
The original village of Qormi originated in the inner area around the parish church of St. George. The present village core is still a maze of tortuous streets lined with time-honoured houses and palatial buildings, some of which date back to the Middle Ages.
Breadmaking was one of the main occupations of old Qormi. The Knights, who obtained their bread supplies from its bakeries, named the village Casal Fornaro - the Bakers' Village. Modern Qormi still carries on with the tradition as the centre of the island's breadmaking and baking industry.
The parish church of St. George was partly built in 1584 and completed in 1684. It is an imposing baroque structure. The feast of St. George, on the last Sunday in June, is an occasion of great merriment and festivity in the parish. Another great event in the parish calendar is Good Friday, when the traditional procession is held.
Participants march through the narrow streets in biblical costumes in accompaniment to various statues which depict episodes from the Passion. The pageant, a unique blend of religious fervour and folklore, is followed by thousands of local people and tourists who visit the island during the Easter period.
The parish of St. Sebastian lies in the more modern quarters of Qormi. The new parish church is a magnificent specimen of the neo-Romanesque style. Its construction began in the early 1930's and it was completed in the 80's. The spacious edifice, in cream-coloured limestone and with its immense dome, is the pride of this parish.
As in the case of St. George, the feast of St. Sebastian in July is a joyful celebration with street decorations, music, fireworks and, of course, the procession with the statue of the patron saint.
The two parishes which make up modern Qormi have several industrial and commercial enterprises as well as numerous workshops, which provide work for people from all walks of life.
On the social side, they house notable philharmonic, sports, cultural and religious societies, which cater for the needs of their inhabitants.