Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fool’s Paradise – Carnival in Malta and Gozo

Carnival was introduced to the Maltese Islands by Grand Master Piero de Ponte back in 1535. Held on the week prior to Ash Wednesday, and the approaching 40 days of Lent all rich and tantalizing foods and drink had to be disposed of. The result was a near hedonistic celebration of gluttony and other naughty pleasures, celebrated in the village or town.
The Maltese Karnival also has it’s own unique traditions, among these is the game Kukkanja which was introduced by Grand Master Zondadari in 1721. A crowd assembled in the Palace Square on Carnival Monday and at a given signal attacked the hams, sausages and live animals tied to the long beams fixed against the guard house and covered over with branches of trees in leaf. The provisions became the property of those who, having seized them, were able to carry off the items.
These traditions unfortunately have been lost in Malta, however one can still see the Kukkanja in Gozo’s villages. The nobility would obviously refrain from such rustic endeveavours, preferring a more subtle approach in the form of Carnival balls.
Official Celebrations open with the Parata, an ancient sword dance commemorating Malta’s victory over the Turks in 1565. Nowadays it is mainly children who participate in the dance. The Parata is of special significance in the history of the Maltese Carnival. Under the Knights it was taken very seriously, and the Maltese eagerly awaited its performance because the rule was “no Parata, no Carnival”.
Valletta hosts a number of these parades in costume and colourful floats which normally follow a particular theme, among these the Carnival King. These parades are judged and prizes are given for best dances, costumes and floats. During the 20s and 30s these parades would portray caricatures of the leading political figures which led to some tense situations. The colonial governors outlawing this form of satire of which has never been expressed since.
In Gozo parades also take place at Victoria (Rabat). However the attraction to many Maltese and tourists is the spontaneous Carnival held in Nadur, where costumes take a more personal theme, and show the Gozitan spirit to distinguish themselves from the rest.

Several Carnival Activities are centered in and around Valletta. If you would like to experience the Maltese Carnival Celebrations stay at one of the top Malta Hotels which is located on the doorstep of Valletta and enjoy superior Malta Accommodation.

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Romantic Gourmet Experience at the Executive Lounge…

On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, the Grand Hotel Excelsior will be converting its Executive Lounge into a romantic, stylish venue reserved exclusively for 15 couples. Experience the spectacular views of Marsamxett Harbour, while our award-winning Chefs tantalise your taste buds with intriguing dishes, accompanying you through a unique Gourmet experience. Accompanying this epicurean journey of the Mediterranean is a selection of fine wines, hand-picked by our Sommelier. Price per person is €60. Booking in advance is highly recommended.
For more information kindly visit the Excelsior Hotel Malta’s Hotel Website.
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The Dragon checks in for the Chinese New Year

The Grand Hotel Excelsior welcomed the Year of the Dragon in style with a lavish Chinese Buffet under the auspices of the Chinese Ambassador to Malta H.E. Zhang Keyuan. The Hotel Lobby was decorated with authentic Chinese decorations which are a symbol of growth and prosperity.
On Monday 16th January the Dragon made a stunning entrance into the Grand Hotel Excelsior and checked-in on time for the Chinese New Year. For a whole week it proudly sat in the Hotel Lobby wishing the Hotel guests and staff a year full of prosperity. The 8 metre Dragon travelled all the way from China for its first Chinese New Year celebration in Malta.

VIP Guest for the month of January Chinese Foreign Minister Hon. Yang Jiechi welcomed by Mr. Grixti, Hotel General Manager, upon his arrival to the Grand Hotel Excelsior.

Chinese New Year, better known in China as the Spring Festival, is a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity and to eliminate any negative events from the past. In Chinese tradition, each year is dedicated to a specific animal. The Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Rat, Boar, Rabbit, Dog, Rooster, Ox, Tiger, Snake, and Ram are the twelve animals that are part of this tradition. Each of these animals are thought to bestow their characteristics to the people born in their year. In 2012, the Dragon is welcomed back after the 2011 year of the Rabbit.
People born in the Year of the Dragon have a natural charisma and are certainly gifted with power and luck. Some famous personalities who were born in the Year of the Dragon are Michael Douglas, John Lennon, Al Pacino, Cliff Richard, Shirley Temple, Placido Domingo and Ringo Starr.
Chinese people may celebrate this feast in slightly different ways but their wishes are almost the same; they want their family members and friends to be healthy and lucky during the New Year.
To find out about Events at the Excelsior Hotel Malta and Things to do in Malta during your holidays stay updated with our Hotel website.
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