Category Archives: Maltese Traditions

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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Experience Medieval Mdina

An age of chivalry

mdina

Mdina was inhabited and possibly first fortified by the Phoenicians around 700 BCE. Phoenicians called it Maleth. The region benefits from its strategic location on one of the island’s highest points and at maximum distance from the sea. Under the Roman Empire, Malta became a Municipium and the Roman Governor built his palace in Mdina. Tradition holds that the Apostle St. Paul resided in the city after his historical shipwreck on the islands. Much of its present architecture reflects the Fatimid Period which began in 999 AD until the Norman conquest of Malta in 1091 AD. The Normans surrounded the city with thick defensive fortifications and widened the moat. The city was also separated it from its nearest town, Rabat.

Malta passed to the Order of Knights of the Hospitallier of St John of Jerusalem in 1530 AD. Mdina hosted the public ceremony in which each Grand Master swore an oath to protect the Maltese Islands and the rights of his subjects. A strong earthquake in 1693 AD led to the introduction of Baroque design within the cityscape. The Knights of Malta rebuilt the cathedral, to the designs of Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa. Palazzo Falzon, the Magisterial Palace and major restoration works are other projects undertaken by the Knights.

Another great Event in Malta – the Mdina Festival

the-medieval-mdina-festival 2

The Medieval Mdina Festival will be organised for the fifth consecutive year in the streets of Mdina. The Festival will be held between the 3rd and 4th May 2014. During this two day event there will be re-enactments by foreign and local groups, Medieval Music, Sbandieratori, Illusionist, Jester, Falconry and birds of prey, Lectures, Concerts, Food & Drinks, Medieval Market, Medieval Kitchen and Children’s Area.

The popularity of this Festival is evident from the number of visitors in previous years. The request from a good number of foreigners and Travel Agents proves that this festival is now popular as well with foreign enthusiasts. Some Tour Operators also advertise the Festival in their brochures. During the Festival the participants will perform all day long in various corners and squares of Mdina. Exhibits will include battles, skirmishes, re-enactments of scenes from the Medieval Period,
like the Town Crier, a Slave Market, a re-enactment of a Medieval Kitchen, Sword Fighting, Archery, Medieval Tavern, Magic Shows, Live Music, Birds of Prey flights, Parades, Flag Throwing shows, and spontaneous re-enactments.

The festival serves as a cultural exchange between local talents and foreign groups, disseminating the cultural heritage of the Medieval Times. It is also a good educational exercise to teach both children and adults the history of the City of Mdina. During the festival all the Tourist Attractions extend their opening hours and offer special reduced prices. Food and drinks will be in abundance during the Festival and a good number of outlets will offer medieval food on in their menus during those days.

As it is the smallest Local Council on the Island, the Mdina Local Council requires a lot of support to organise such a significant event. Indeed the festival is supported by a number of Goverment Departments; residents and the local Business Community, particularly the SMEs present in Mdina.This assistance takes several forms, ranging from advertising to direct participation. Indeed, some companies set up stands exhibiting their products, and are directly involved in exchanges with similar international exhibitors. This gives the festival another dimension, that of a promoter for exchange of ideas amongst other business communities.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior offers you great insight on things to do in Malta. Visit the website of this superior 5 star hotel in Malta and stay updated with events taking place around Malta.

Photos courtesy of www.viewingmalta.com.

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Be part of the Easter Celebrations in Malta

Experience the unique Easter Festivities of Malta

Malta Easter Celebrations

Join the thousands of onlookers that line the roads from the front of the church all the way along the passage of the pageant. The band players lead the way, progressing inch by inch, setting the mood of gloom with their music. Boys and men, dressed in the attire of shepherds, peasants, and Roman soldiers follow holding various reminders of the life and death of Jesus. Banners in Latin give messages to the devout Christian. And, one by one several large adorned statues pass by the stationary crowd.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior will be organizing transport to The Good Friday Procession and Resurrection Procession in Cospicua as follows:

Good Friday Procession in Qormi : 18th April 2014
Departure from The Grand Hotel Excelsior to Qormi : 16.30hrs
Return transfer from Qormi to The Grand Hotel Excelsior : 20.00hrs
Price: €40.00

Resurrection Procession in Cospicua : 20th April 2014
Departure from The Grand Hotel Excelsior to Cospicua: 09.00hrs
Return transfer from Cospicua to The Grand Hotel Excelsior: 12.00hrs
Price: €40.00

Should you wish to be part of the Easter Celebrations in Malta contact the Concierge Desk at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta and they will organise the transfers for you.

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