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.
Later 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.
The 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.
Photos courtesy of Jürgen Scicluna & Viewing Malta.