Birkirkara means "cold water" or "running water". This is attributed to the valley in the town. Originally, the name was written as Birchircara, as influenced by the Italian alphabet which excludes the use of the letter 'K'. It is often abbreviated as B'kara/Kara.
Birkirkara is situated in a valley, which is from where its name is derived. It is known for flooding on heavy stormy days. Several projects have been proposed. The area has also received embellishment works from time to time.
There are many places of interest in Birkirkara, amongst them the Old Railway Station which is today located within a public garden. Trains were used as means of transportation across the island until the Railway's closure happened in 1931. Other town features include the Wignacourt Aqueduct built in the 17th Century, and St Helen's Basilica, housing Malta's largest church bell. Birkirkara is one of Malta's oldest towns and received mention in the 1436 Ecclesiastical Report mentioning the then existing parishes in Malta and Gozo, from which Birkirkara emerged as the largest parish. Various parishes and suburbs developed out of Birkirkara over the years, including Sliema, St. Julian's, Msida, Ħamrun in the 19th century and Santa Venera in the early 20th century. In more recent years, San Ġwann (1965) and the hamlet of Ta' l-Ibraġ hived off Birkirkara to form part of the new parish and locality of Swieqi in 1993.
Birkirkara's main religious feast is that of St Helen which is celebrated on 18 August if it falls on a Sunday, or on the first Sunday after that date. The main event of the celebration is a procession with a large wooden statue carved by the Maltese master-sculptor Salvu Psaila. Notably, this is the only procession (with a titular statue) on the island carried out in the morning. The procession leaves the basilica at exactly 8:00 a.m. and returns to it at 10:45 am. The statue is lifted to shoulder-height by a group of townsmen and is carried through the main streets of the town.
Birkirkara has grown into an important commercial centre as well as a densely populated residential area.
Some prominent buildings in the area are the Tal-Wejter Tower, the Wignacourt Aqueduct, Villa Lauri, Villa Chelsea, Saint Helen Palace, Band Clubs, Political Clubs, the Birkirkara Civic Centre, amongst others.
As a busy town, Birkirkara has a high incidence of car accidents, topping the list for the third quarter of 2016.
In Birkirkara, the temperature varies from 10.3 to 30.7 °C (50.5 to 87.3 °F) during a year.
The current Birkirkara local council members are:Joanne Debono Grech (Mayor, PL)
Rita Borg (Vice-Mayor, PL)
Michael Fenech Adami (PN)
Kaylocke Buhagiar (PL)
Liam Gauci (PL)
Josianne Cardona Gatt (PN)
Mark Abdilla (PN)
Anthony Buttigieg (PL)
John Mary Calleja (PL)
Herbert Conti (PL)
John Mizzi (PN)
Marie Claire Zammit (PN)
John Borg (PN)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Church, Triq Fleur-de-Lys (Fleur-de-Lys Road), Fleur-de-Lys
Our Lady, Mother of the Church Parish Church, Triq il-Graffiti Navali, Swatar
St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church, Triq il-Bwieraq (Bwieraq Street)
St. Helen's Parish Church, Triq is-Santwarju (Sanctuary Street)
St. Mary's Parish Church, Triq il-Knisja l-Qadima (Old Church Street)
Our Lady of Victory Parish Church, Triq il-Vitorja (Victory Street)
Birkirkara Local Council, Triq Tumas Fenech (Thomas Fenech Street)
Birkirkara District Police Station, Triq il-Kbira (Main Street)
Birkirkara Malta Labour Party Club, Triq Fleur-de-Lys (Fleur-de-Lys Road)
Birkirkara Partit Nazzjonalista Club, Triq Fleur-de-Lys (Fleur-de-Lys Road)
Birkirkara Branch Post Office, Triq il-Wied (Valley Road)
Birkirkara Sub-Post Offices at: Triq Mannarino (Mannarino Road); Triq Tumas Fenech (Thomas Fenech Street); and Triq L. Casolani (L. Casolani Street)
Da Vinci Hospital, Triq Kan. K. Pirotta (Can. K. Pirotta Street)
Birkirkara Health Centre, Triq Tumas Fenech
Birkirkara Regional Library, Triq Tumas Fenech
Ta' Fuq il-Wied
Birkirkara has a multi-sport club in Birkirkara Saint Joseph Sports Club, commonly referred to simply as Birkirkara St. Joseph, mostly known for its Athletics section, however, it also has active sections responsible for cycling, triathlon, swimming, and (amateur) football, which competes in the Maltese Inter-Amateur Soccer Competition.
The latter is, however, definitely surpassed by Birkirkara F.C., led by Adrian Delia, who have won the Maltese Premier League four times. Birkirkara F.C. have a good record in UEFA Europa League when compared to other Maltese teams, having beaten West Ham United F.C. at a point, only to be eliminated from 2015-16 UEFA Europa League on penalties. Birkirkara also eliminated Heart of Midlothian in the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League.