Author Archives: Denise Camilleri

Traditional Easter Pastries: Figolli

Easter Figolla

Although the origin of the word ‘figolla’ is not clear, it is believed that this was derived from the Italian word ‘figura’ which means a form, shape or image. Just before Easter, figolli are produced by local bakers and are sold in bakeries and confectioneries. However, it still very much of a local tradition to bake these at home during Holy Week and give them to family and friends to be eaten on Easter Sunday. These were created as a post-Lenten treat mainly for the little ones. Traditionally, these delicious, soft and biscuit-like cakes were available in the shapes of women, men, or baskets (possibly a reference to ancient symbols of fertility).

Nowadays, popular shapes include bunnies, ducks, cars and butterflies. Sometimes ‘figolli’, are shaped to suit Christian symbols such as lambs, crosses and fish. The icing decoration covering the top of the cake is very bright and colourful, and the largest decoration piece is often a small chocolate egg still wrapped in a foil paper.

Experience an Easter Malta Spa Break, an Easter Dine & Stay Weekend Break or our traditional Easter Sunday Buffet Lunch. And if you would like to enjoy that little treat at home, our award winning team of pastry chefs is busy preparing figolli and Easter eggs for you to take home or to give to your loved ones. These delectable goodies will be available for purchase from our Harbour View Lounge Bar, which is open 24 hours a day.

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Easter Celebrations in Malta

Easter Celebrations in Malta are given a lot of importance due to the local religion and culture. The faithful gather to celebrate and commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These celebrations are also very popular amongst international visitors to Malta, who enjoy watching traditional ceremonies. Activities begin on Good Friday, when a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is carried in a procession across many local towns and villages.

Good Friday Procession in MaltaLater in the afternoon, several localities also commemorate the Passion of Christ with a solemn procession of statues carried by bearers. Those participating in the processions would be dressed up as biblical characters or bear crosses and drag chains tied to their feet as a sign of penance or piety.

Easter Procession in MaltaThe solemnity of Good Friday is succeeded by the festivities of Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Church bells ring jubilantly, and statues of the Risen Christ are carried in the streets. In Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa; one of the Three Cities, a group of men make a mad dash uphill bearing a statue of the Risen Christ. This is another popular event in Malta and also attracts many tourists.

On Easter Sunday many families meet up for a special Sunday lunch; exchanging good wishes and some small gifts. Another tradition is to give the little ones chocolate eggs and a ‘figolla’, a traditional almond pastry.

If you wish to attend one of the processions, you may wish to plan in advance to find the perfect place providing a clear view. Processions usually start in the mid-afternoon on Good Friday. Some of the locations where processions take place are:
Malta: Birgu (Vittoriosa), Bormla (Senglea), Ghaxaq, Luqa, Mosta, Naxxar, Paola, Qormi, Rabat, Senglea, Valletta, Żebbuġ (Città Rohan) and Żejtun.

Gozo: Nadur, Ghajnsielem, Victoria (St. George Basilica and St Maria Cathedral), Nadur, Xewkija, Qala, Xaghra and Żebbuġ.

If you’re planning to spend your Easter Holidays in Malta contact Our Chauffeur Driven Service and they will advise you on Where to Go and What to Do in Malta during your holidays.

Photos courtesy of Jürgen Scicluna & Viewing Malta.

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Carnival Celebrations in Malta

Carnival in Malta

Carnival is a very important part of the Maltese culture. It dates back to almost five centuries ago, when it was first introduced by Grand Master Piero de Ponte. Since then, although it has undergone several changes over the years, Carnival has remained very popular among the locals. In accordance to tradition, celebrations begin one week prior and up to Ash Wednesday. In fact, the name Carnival was derived from ‘Carne vale’ which when translated literally means ‘meat is allowed’. This was due to the fact that Catholicism forbade the consumption of meat during the forty days of Lent. As a result, Roman Catholic countries celebrated Carnival just before the commencement of the fasting period.

Carnival CelebrationsNowadays, thousands of residents gather in the streets of numerous villages and towns to celebrate Carnival. Some of the most popular venues are Valletta and Floriana in Malta and Nadur in Gozo. The festivities held in Valletta, the capital of Malta and Victoria, the capital of Gozo, also feature various costume competitions together with dances, and various floats in all colours and shapes. The Carnival taking place in Nadur, Gozo, differs to those held in Malta. This has a more modern feel to it, which makes it very popular among young people. In fact, several individuals travel from Malta to Gozo for the celebrations. The festivities in Nadur take place mainly in St. Peter and St. Paul’s Square. The streets are filled with individuals dressed in costumes of which many are outrageous. The Nadur Carnival has become renowned across Europe.

If you’re visiting Malta during the Carnival festivities, take the opportunity to visit the City and experience the Carnival celebrations first-hand. The Grand Hotel Excelsior is located close to Valletta, just a few minutes’ walk from the activities.

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