Category Archives: Feasts in Malta

Malta: A Summer of Feasts

Maltese feasts

Summer in Malta is characterised by traditional feasts which are held every weekend. These village feasts venerating the saints are an integral part of the Maltese culture and its Catholic tradition.

The ‘festa’ is the main social event in the Maltese villages and the local patrons look forward to this once a year event. In fact the week-long celebrations are the outcome of months of hard work by volunteers to celebrate the parish patron saint. On the day of the feast the statue of the patron saint is carried around the streets and is accompanied by brass bands. The celebrations themselves include magnificent firework displays, brass band music and street life. Band music is one of the most popular traditions on the Maltese Islands. Every town and village has at least one, and usually two band clubs. Traditional festa snacks include the rich and colourful nougat.

The village feast is an opportunity for Maltese families to get together at the village square and it is also the perfect occasion for visitors to experience the Maltese village life. Two of the major Maltese feasts are the Assumption of Our Lady which is held on the 15th of August and Our Lady of Victories which is celebrated on the 8th September. Our Lady of Victories, also known as ‘il-Vitorja’, commemorates the defeat of the Turks at the end of the Great Siege of 1565. The highlight of this feast is the Regatta (boat race) held at the Grand Harbour.

Undoubtedly, the village feast remains one of Malta’s most visual cultural festivities with food stands selling traditional Maltese nougat and spectacular exhibition of fireworks. The entire village is also decorated with banners and buildings such as the band clubs are also lavishly decorated.

Visiting Malta this Summer? Feel free to contact our Concierge Team to find out which feast will be taking place during your holidays in Malta. The Grand Hotel Excelsior also offers private chauffeur driven service to various locations around Malta and Gozo.

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Holy Week and Easter in Malta

Easter is a festive, religious and emotional time for both locals and tourists. It is thus no surprise that one find tourists wondering around the towns and villages during the various processions and pageants that take place during the weeks preceding Easter. They try to capture everything that’s happening around them on cameras.

Within the churches, celebrations become truly alive with colours, ornaments, flowers and a great number of devotees. One of the processions that is a crowd puller is the ‘Addolorata, mainly because people identify their own miseries, pain and suffering with those of Holy Mary’s. On Maundy Thursday several local devotees visit the ‘seven churches’ where they kneel, reflect and pray beside the tomb of Christ.

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Good Friday gives a sombre outlook where churches are deprived from the traditional ornamental style for a single day. The red colour, resembling the Blood of Christ, is splashed all over the churches. On Good Friday Malta is turned into Roman and Jewish pageantry. In the inner core of villages one comes across Pontius Pilate, Barabbas and other biblical characters during the renowned processions. People do some odd penitence such as carrying heavy weights or walking barefoot! Some even cover up their faces as they pay the price for a special grace they received.

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The atmosphere changes completely the following day in the evening. Celebrations start in pitch darkness. They are then illuminated by flickering candle lights. Finally there is an ‘explosion’ of light, where churches are suddenly illuminated with candles, chandeliers, bulbs and floodlights. Bells toll happily as they break the night’s silence in order to announce Christ’s resurrection, exactly when the singing of the ‘Glorja’ commences.

During these festivities there are some very special and unique Maltese delicacies. The ‘kwarezimal’ and the ‘figolli’ top the list. There are other food items such as the Lent’s ftajjar; Karamelli and hot cross buns. Although in Lent the traditional Maltese fast, yet the street vendors are as busy as bees in keeping up with the heavy demand!

Spend your Easter Holidays in Malta. Contact Our Concierge Desk during your stay and they will advise you on Where to Go and What to Do in Malta during your holidays.

Photo Credits: Viewing Malta & Mario Galea

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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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