Tag Archives: Luxury Malta Hotel

Typical Maltese Traditions

It’s that time of year again when we exchange gifts and well wishes. Yes, Christmas is soon with us and this is a very special time for the Maltese people. The majority of the locals are Catholics and enjoy attending the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. One of the Maltese Christmas traditions which is celebrated during the Midnight Mass is the ‘Priedka tat-Tifel’ meaning preaching of the child. On this special occasion usually a 7 to 10 year old child does the preaching of the sermon instead of the priest, telling the story of the baby Jesus in Betlehem.

Another common activity organized by local churches is a mini pageant with children acting out the story of the Nativity by dressing up as shepherds, and as Joseph and Mary carrying a baby doll. This re-enactment starts at 11pm and is followed by High Mass at midnight.

Traditional Maltese crib

Traditional Maltese Crib

During Christmas time, churches are embellished with lights and nativity cribs called ‘Presepji’. It’s also a tradition to decorate the cribs with figurines, called ‘pasturi’. Cribs date back to centuries ago when they were first introduced in Malta by rich Italian noblemen. They did not become popular until much later and many were actually burnt. It is believed that the first true Maltese crib was built in 1617 and was displayed in the Domenican Friars Church in Rabat. A crib dating back to 1670 can be found in St. Peter’s Monastery in Mdina. This is treasured and looked after by the Benedictine Nuns.

As the popularity of the cribs increased, Maltese started building their own cribs and replaced the Italian ones. Moreover, imported Italian ‘pasturi’ were very expensive and many could not afford to buy them. As a result people started making their own “pasturi” of rough clay and plaster.

Over time the popularity of cribs decreased and by the 20th century they were considered old fashioned. To reverse the declining popularity of Christmas, in 1907, a priest called George Preca founded children’s charity and society called ‘MUSEUM’. In 1921 he started the tradition of a Christmas eve procession during which a life size figurine of Baby Jesus would be carried around at the head of the procession.

Xmas Street decorations

Christmas Street Decorations

In 1921, on Christmas Eve in the streets of Hamrun, locals gathered to partake in the procession. The streets were lit up with different types of lamps, lanterns and Venetian light to light up the path for the procession. The idea became very popular with people of all ages and so the very special Maltese tradition started. These processions are still popular today and form part of the Christmas Eve celebrations.

The Festive element is also seen in several Maltese households which are decorated with cribs, wreaths, candles and all kinds of decorations. It is also a very common practice to place a figurine of baby Jesus in the crib in the window lit up at night. Maltese families set up the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations at home. Although English is widely spoken and English Christmas carols are very popular, Maltese have their own Christmas carol ‘Ninni la tibkix izjed’ which translates to sleep and cry no more. Similarly to many other countries, presents are delivered by Father Christmas or Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and are opened in the early morning of Christmas Day.

Christmas is also celebrated at schools with children acting during their Christmas concert. They do Christmas themed plays, mimes, poetry recitals, Christmas Carols and many others. It is also a common practice for classes to organize a small party prior to the Christmas holidays. Children bring some homemade food, presents are exchanged and a donation is collected for one of the local charities.

In the past, the traditional Maltese Christmas meal differed from today’s. Nowadays families eat Turkey, Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding and Minced Pies; which is a result of the British influence during their rule in Malta. Traditionally, the Maltese house-wife would keep the largest rooster, ‘hasi’ for Christmas Lunch, which was roasted at the local bakery in a casserole full of potatoes and vegetables. The traditional dessert served at Christmas was the Treacle Ring, ‘Qaghqa tal-Ghasel’, and to finish it off, a hot Chestnut and Cocoa Soup, ‘Imbuljuta tal-Qastan’, which was and is served as a cosy night cap during the cold December days in Malta.

Visiting Malta this Festive Season? Celebrate the Christmas spirit at a luxury hotel in Malta and if you’d like to visit some of the traditional Maltese cribs and enjoy the local Christmas atmosphere kindly speak to Our Concierge Team.

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Things to do in and around Mdina

Mdina View

Mdina by Night

A holiday to Malta is incomplete without a visit to the old capital city of Malta, Mdina. This old town and the whereabouts offer interesting insights into Maltese history and the old way of life of the Maltese. If you plan to visit Mdina and Rabat have a look at our list of recommendations.

  • Explore Mdina by Night
  • Go to Dingli Cliffs, limits of Rabat and enjoy the stunning views
  • Visit St. Pauls Catacombs in Rabat
  • Wander around Buskett Gardens close to Rabat

    Roman Villa Rabat

    Roman Villa, Rabat

  • See a Norman House by visiting Palazzo Falzon in Mdina
  • Admire the mosaics at The Roman Villa in Rabat
  • Visit the Museum of National History in Mdina
  • Experience the Mdina Dungeons
  • Enjoy the beautiful views from Fontanella tea rooms in Mdina


If you’re visiting Malta and would like to see some interesting places, please feel free to contact the Concierge Desk at this superior 5 star hotel in Malta and they will advise you on Where to Go and What to Do in Malta during your holidays.

Photo courtesy of viewingmalta.com

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Are you an Air Show lover?


If you are an aviation enthusiast you cannot miss this year’s Malta International Air Show, now in its 21st edition which will be held on the 28th & 29th September 2013. The Malta International Airshow Show attracts participants from all over the world and this year will also be hosting the world renowned Red Arrows. They will also be giving spectacular aerobatic displays over Malta.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior has teamed up with the Malta Aviation Society and is offering you a Great Air-show Package which includes:

• Welcome Drink upon arrival
• Accommodation in a Deluxe Partial Sea View Room
• Daily Buffet Breakfast
• One Day ticket per person booked to the Malta International Airshow
• One Way taxi pick up from the Malta International Airport to the hotel
• Two Way taxi transfers from the hotel to the Airshow and back to the hotel
• Complimentary use of indoor and outdoor pool, whirlpool and fitness centre
• Free pressing service during your stay

Package starts from €100 per person per night sharing a Double Deluxe Partial Sea View Room.


Terms & Conditions Apply.

If you are planning a holiday to Malta and would like to have a great experience this Luxury Malta Hotel offers a great selection of interesting Malta Packages for any season. So if you’d like to enjoy a summer holiday with your family; a relaxing weekend break with your better half; or experience Malta like the locals, the Grand Hotel Excelsior has it All!

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