Easter Celebrations in Malta

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.

Good Friday Procession in MaltaLater 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.

Easter Procession in MaltaThe 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.

If you’re planning to spend your Easter Holidays in Malta contact Our Chauffeur Driven Service and they will advise you on Where to Go and What to Do in Malta during your holidays.

Photos courtesy of Jürgen Scicluna & Viewing Malta.

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Carnival Celebrations in Malta

Carnival in Malta

Carnival is a very important part of the Maltese culture. It dates back to almost five centuries ago, when it was first introduced by Grand Master Piero de Ponte. Since then, although it has undergone several changes over the years, Carnival has remained very popular among the locals. In accordance to tradition, celebrations begin one week prior and up to Ash Wednesday. In fact, the name Carnival was derived from ‘Carne vale’ which when translated literally means ‘meat is allowed’. This was due to the fact that Catholicism forbade the consumption of meat during the forty days of Lent. As a result, Roman Catholic countries celebrated Carnival just before the commencement of the fasting period.

Carnival CelebrationsNowadays, thousands of residents gather in the streets of numerous villages and towns to celebrate Carnival. Some of the most popular venues are Valletta and Floriana in Malta and Nadur in Gozo. The festivities held in Valletta, the capital of Malta and Victoria, the capital of Gozo, also feature various costume competitions together with dances, and various floats in all colours and shapes. The Carnival taking place in Nadur, Gozo, differs to those held in Malta. This has a more modern feel to it, which makes it very popular among young people. In fact, several individuals travel from Malta to Gozo for the celebrations. The festivities in Nadur take place mainly in St. Peter and St. Paul’s Square. The streets are filled with individuals dressed in costumes of which many are outrageous. The Nadur Carnival has become renowned across Europe.

If you’re visiting Malta during the Carnival festivities, take the opportunity to visit the City and experience the Carnival celebrations first-hand. The Grand Hotel Excelsior is located close to Valletta, just a few minutes’ walk from the activities.

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Love is in the Air

Following the Festive season, another big event is St. Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated worldwide. What used to be an ancient festival has been transformed into one of the most celebrated days in the year.

Its popularity has grown due to the idea of celebrating love and lovers. On this day people show their love not only to their partners, but also to everyone they care about and consider special such as parents, teachers, friends and siblings. The most popular method of expressing one’s love on Valentine’s Day is exchanging gifts, including fresh flowers, chocolates, cards and even jewellery. Many couples also enjoy a lovely candle-lit dinner on this special day. In fact, many restaurants would be fully booked, and the night is one of the busiest of the year.

In popular culture there are several symbols which are associated with Valentine’s Day. These include red hearts and roses, birds, and Cupid.

Have you ever wondered where these originated from?

img-red heartsRed Hearts
A red heart pierced by Cupid’s arrow is a very traditional symbol of Valentine’s Day. The heart represents love and life, and the gift of a heart implies handing over one’s being to a loved one.
The pierced heart also suggests that one is willing to take a risk of being rejected and feeling hurt. Therefore, the arrow also symbolises the vulnerability of love. Some also believe that the heart and arrow represent the unity of a couple. Today, hearts are often given as gifts in the form of balloons and stuffed toys.

img-red_rosesRed Roses
The rose has always been a popular flower among poets and romantics, who consider it to represent love, passion and beauty.
There are different colored roses and each has a different meaning.

Red Roses – Love and passion
Yellow Roses – Friendship
White Roses – True love and purity of the mind
Pink Roses – Friendship or Sweetheart
Black Roses – Farewell

img-doveLovebirds and Doves
Lovebirds and doves are a prominent Valentine’s Day symbol.

This originates from an archaic belief that birds found their mates on February 14th. Furthermore, doves signify purity, innocence and humility, while lovebirds conjure up visions of couples in love.

img-cupidCupid (Eros)
Cupid’s story dates back to Roman mythology. He was the son of Venus, the Goddess of Love. According to tradition, Cupid was sent out on errands with his bow and a quiver of arrows, and those hit by the arrows fell in love.

In commemoration of Valentine’s Day, the Grand Hotel Excelsior has prepared a luxurious treat for couples:

A Romantic Stay for Two.

Make this Valentine’s Day memorable, and ensure that you and your loved one feel truly special and pampered at this luxury 5 star hotel in Malta.

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