Category Archives: Malta Feasts

Mnarja: A traditional Folk Festival in Malta

Mnarja - Folf Festival Malta

Malta is renowned for its traditional feasts and celebrations. One of the yearly festival which is well known with Maltese and foreigners alike is the Mnarja Festival.

The Imnarja festival is held on the 28th and 29th of June yearly. During this festival you can experience various archaic Maltese customs and traditions. The name for this very popular Maltese festival is believed to have originated from the corruption of the Italian word “luminaria” which means illuminations. This refers to the bonfires that used to be lit up in Rabat, Malta during the festival traditions. (Imnarja can also be spelt Mnarja). The 29th of June is also the feast day of St Peter and St Paul, and the Mnarja festival is heavily linked to this feast. The origins of this festival date back to before the occupation of the Knights of Malta!

Imnarja Festival at a glance
The festival starts on the 28th of June in Buskett Gardens. The atmosphere in Buskett is that of a huge and never ending party, with folk music and traditional singing (ghana), dancing and plenty of food and drink. The main dish served during the event is rabbit stew. In fact, rabbit is consumed in abundance during the Mnarja festival. To wash down the food, plenty of excellent local wine is available. The festivities go on until the early hours of the following morning! In the past, there was a custom that when a couple got married, the groom promised his bride that he would take her to the Mnarja evening celebrations after they got married.

The following day, i.e. the 29th of June, is a public holiday in Malta and Gozo. On the 29th, the festival continues at Buskett Gardens. This time though, it is more of an agricultural show where you can see lots of farmers proudly exhibiting their fresh produce. In the afternoon, the attention is switched to the Telgha tas-Saqqajja in Rabat (Saqqajja Hill) where bareback horse and donkey races are held. Thousands gather to watch these races each year. The winner of the race is awarded a colourful brocade banner.

The Imnarja festival is a huge sociable and family affair where families and friends meet and celebrate day and night in Buskett Gardens, which is the largest natural woodland in Malta.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior offers you great ideas on what to do in Malta during your upcoming holidays. Visit this superior 5 star hotel in Malta‘s website and stay updated with events taking place around Malta.

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Malta Events – Chinese New Year 2014

Grand Hotel Excelsior to welcome the Year of the Horse!

chinese ny 2014

On the occasion of the Chinese New Year the Grand Hotel Excelsior is organising a special Dinner on Thursday 30th January 2014.

The Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, is the most important celebration of the year in China where Chinese people and their families gather and wish their family members and friends health and luck during the New Year.

This year marks the year of the Horse. According to the Chinese calendar, when it comes to fortune, 2014 would be a better year for those people who were born under The Year of the Horse.

Members of the public are welcome to join in the celebratory dinner priced at 35 Euro for adults. Children aged between six and 11 pay half the price and children under 6 years dine for free.

Contact the Food and Beverage Team at the Excelsior Hotel Malta on 21250520 or on food.beverage@excelsior.com.mt for more information and to secure your table for this special event.

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Maltese Cribs: A unique Christmas Tradition in Malta

In Malta, the Crib is part of the Christmas season and tradition. It is believed that the very first Crib to be built in Malta dates back to 1617, and although there is no official document which can confirm it, the crib has been built every Christmas since.

Maltese Christmas Crib

The History of the Cribs

The design of the Cribs was influenced mainly by the Neapolitan style. However, although this style was popular in Europe till the end of the last century, many Maltese disagreed with it, claiming, that such a style did not represent the Holy Night. The more acceptable style was that of Sicilian model introduced by Benedetto Papale, a Franciscan friar from Sicily, during the second half of the 19th century. Popularity of building cribs bloomed during the 19th and beginning of 20th century. The most common material used was the rustic stone, coal residue and eventually papier mache. Another interesting part of the crib, of course, are the statues called ‘pasturi’, which were made of arth clay or candle wax.

Life-size Maltese Christmas CribThe Maltese cribs are part of the local culture, so if you happen to be visiting our beautiful Islands during the Christmas season, be sure to see some.

Nowadays you will find different displays of Maltese cribs in private homes, churches, and in exhibition spaces. Most of these cribs are hand-made and some are even life-size cribs. One popular life-size crib is “Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem” which is held at Ghajnsielem in Gozo during December. In fact the place (a 20,000 square meter of fields) is transformed into a nativity village where several volunteers take part in the reconstruction of the Christmas story. Witness horses turning mills, villagers going about their jobs, shepherds inhabiting caves, animals roaming in enclosed spaces and a poor unknown couple tending their newly-born in a grotto. The perfect Christmas atmosphere for all the family.

Are you visiting Malta during Christmas and the Festive Season? Celebrate the Christmas spirit at a luxury 5 Star hotel in Malta. Should you wish to visit traditional Maltese cribs and experience the local Christmas atmosphere during your Malta holidays please speak to Our Concierge Team who will guide you accordingly.

© Clive Vella & Viewing Malta.

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