Category Archives: Accommodation Malta

Do you love St Paddy’s Day?

St Patrick s Day Special 2016We have something special for the Irish fans. Next week we will be offering a St Patrick’s Day Special at the Harbour View Bar. Join us for a Steak ‘n Guinness Pie and a pint of Guinness.

Feel free to contact our Food & Beverage Team on food.beverage@excelsior.com.mt for further details.

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Leading a stressful life?

relaxationAre you one of those people who gets ready in a few minutes before rushing out of the door to a busy work schedule? Nowadays society is leading a busy life full of stress. Juggling between work and personal life, deadlines at work, looking after children, housework and shopping do not leave much time for relaxation. We tend to take things for granted and ignore the negative effects stress can leave on our body and mind.

Physical and mental well being has a great impact on the quality and length of life. A busy lifestyle full of stress can lead to the cardiovascular diseases, obesity, anxiety, tension, stroke and other complications.

We need to look after our health and take regular breaks from our busy routine. Whilst physical exercise is a great tool to build new energy and strengthen our body, people do not find time to do exercise on a daily basis. Thus finding a couple of hours every so often to enjoy the benefits of a relaxing massage is a must.

massagesThere are different massage techniques one can choose from which are suitable for different personal needs. The main benefits of a massage include:
• Increased energy
• Improved ability to control stress
• Helps to improve sleep
• Improves the mood
• Improves the blood supply to the heart
• Clears the body of toxins
• Helps to minimise stiffness or swelling
• Stimulates and calms the nervous system

Our team of specialists at the Le Grand Spa can recommend a massage suitable for your needs.

For a great relaxing experience be sure to visit our spa during your next holidays at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta. Kindly speak to one of our spa therapists for more information. With the help of our spa therapist you can create a body treatment that is totally personalized and specific to your taste and needs.

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Typical Maltese Traditions

It’s that time of year again when we exchange gifts and well wishes. Yes, Christmas is soon with us and this is a very special time for the Maltese people. The majority of the locals are Catholics and enjoy attending the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. One of the Maltese Christmas traditions which is celebrated during the Midnight Mass is the ‘Priedka tat-Tifel’ meaning preaching of the child. On this special occasion usually a 7 to 10 year old child does the preaching of the sermon instead of the priest, telling the story of the baby Jesus in Betlehem.

Another common activity organized by local churches is a mini pageant with children acting out the story of the Nativity by dressing up as shepherds, and as Joseph and Mary carrying a baby doll. This re-enactment starts at 11pm and is followed by High Mass at midnight.

Traditional Maltese crib

Traditional Maltese Crib

During Christmas time, churches are embellished with lights and nativity cribs called ‘Presepji’. It’s also a tradition to decorate the cribs with figurines, called ‘pasturi’. Cribs date back to centuries ago when they were first introduced in Malta by rich Italian noblemen. They did not become popular until much later and many were actually burnt. It is believed that the first true Maltese crib was built in 1617 and was displayed in the Domenican Friars Church in Rabat. A crib dating back to 1670 can be found in St. Peter’s Monastery in Mdina. This is treasured and looked after by the Benedictine Nuns.

As the popularity of the cribs increased, Maltese started building their own cribs and replaced the Italian ones. Moreover, imported Italian ‘pasturi’ were very expensive and many could not afford to buy them. As a result people started making their own “pasturi” of rough clay and plaster.

Over time the popularity of cribs decreased and by the 20th century they were considered old fashioned. To reverse the declining popularity of Christmas, in 1907, a priest called George Preca founded children’s charity and society called ‘MUSEUM’. In 1921 he started the tradition of a Christmas eve procession during which a life size figurine of Baby Jesus would be carried around at the head of the procession.

Xmas Street decorations

Christmas Street Decorations

In 1921, on Christmas Eve in the streets of Hamrun, locals gathered to partake in the procession. The streets were lit up with different types of lamps, lanterns and Venetian light to light up the path for the procession. The idea became very popular with people of all ages and so the very special Maltese tradition started. These processions are still popular today and form part of the Christmas Eve celebrations.

The Festive element is also seen in several Maltese households which are decorated with cribs, wreaths, candles and all kinds of decorations. It is also a very common practice to place a figurine of baby Jesus in the crib in the window lit up at night. Maltese families set up the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations at home. Although English is widely spoken and English Christmas carols are very popular, Maltese have their own Christmas carol ‘Ninni la tibkix izjed’ which translates to sleep and cry no more. Similarly to many other countries, presents are delivered by Father Christmas or Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and are opened in the early morning of Christmas Day.

Christmas is also celebrated at schools with children acting during their Christmas concert. They do Christmas themed plays, mimes, poetry recitals, Christmas Carols and many others. It is also a common practice for classes to organize a small party prior to the Christmas holidays. Children bring some homemade food, presents are exchanged and a donation is collected for one of the local charities.

In the past, the traditional Maltese Christmas meal differed from today’s. Nowadays families eat Turkey, Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding and Minced Pies; which is a result of the British influence during their rule in Malta. Traditionally, the Maltese house-wife would keep the largest rooster, ‘hasi’ for Christmas Lunch, which was roasted at the local bakery in a casserole full of potatoes and vegetables. The traditional dessert served at Christmas was the Treacle Ring, ‘Qaghqa tal-Ghasel’, and to finish it off, a hot Chestnut and Cocoa Soup, ‘Imbuljuta tal-Qastan’, which was and is served as a cosy night cap during the cold December days in Malta.

Visiting Malta this Festive Season? Celebrate the Christmas spirit at a luxury hotel in Malta and if you’d like to visit some of the traditional Maltese cribs and enjoy the local Christmas atmosphere kindly speak to Our Concierge Team.

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