Category Archives: Maltese Traditions

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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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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