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.
Nowadays, 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.