A Frenchman in Gozo

In this 2-minute video, Frenchman Remi Jennequin works with short-film director Federico Chini to give a you tongue-in-cheek perspective of the small Mediterranean island of Gozo.

Jennequin takes it to complaining, perhaps in ways stereotypical to his co-nationals, but ultimately manages to portray a quaint and rather realistic picture of Gozo.

Play the short film and let us know what you think.

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Maltese Festa colours in 2015 Calendar

The Maltese Village ‘festa’ is a colourful expression of the Maltese culture and identity, that which can be referred to as “Maltese Moments”, the Maltese way to celebrate. These are some of the moments captured on film that manifest the true colours of the Maltese festa.

These images are taken from the 2015 MTA Desk Calendar.

Christmas in Malta

Christmas is a one of the most celebrated feasts on the Maltese islands. It has its high religious significance but also a social aspect bringing the families and community together. During the festive season one can visit various nativity scenes, displays of cribs, carol services and other events organised in each locality on the islands. For the special spiritual evening, join the congregation at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta for candlelit carol singing.

The spectacular cribs, considered as one of the unique traditions in Malta, are available for display in small chapels, village halls and even in private houses. In fact, visiting the artistic and elaborate crib displays during Christmas-time is a popular activity both amongst locals and visitors. Some of them are a result of long hours of meticulous work by dedicated craftsmen.

Spending the Christmas time in Malta is a memorable experience.

 

Religion and Traditions in Gozo: Easter 2014

Discover the Easter rites and traditions during a 2-week intensive programme on the island of Gozo. Find out how the locals immerse themselves in the rituals pertaining to this holy period of the year, and how they celebrate Easter in Church and in their villages.

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The Traditional Carnival in Malta and Gozo

The traditional Carnival in Malta goes back hundreds of years. We find that already in the 16th century a jousting tournament was held as part of the celebrations. Maltese folk used to celebrate Carnival as did the Knights of St. John as from one week prior and up to Ash Wednesday. The origin of the name Carnival derives from the Italian phrase ‘Carne vale’, which means literally ‘meat is allowed’ due to the fact that during the forty days of lent, the consumption of meat was forbidden according to Roman Catholic religion. Therefore, Carnival was to be celebrated just prior to the fasting period in Roman Catholic countries.

Nowadays, Carnival is celebrated in numerous towns and villages but especially in Valletta, Floriana and Nadur Gozo. It is indeed a kind of explosion of colour in the way of decorated floats and costumes. Carnival serves also as means of merriment and a time when individuals also dress up in all sorts of weird or funny costume and just go out in the streets to join the fray.

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Of Churches and Chapels

The Maltese are among the oldest Christians in the world and you can find an amazing 365 churches on the islands – a very high number for such a small space. Many are dedicated to St Paul, who was shipwrecked in Malta in 60 AD, and St John.

St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture and boasts the stupendous painting by Caravaggio called The Beheading of St John. The dome of the Mosta Church is the fourth largest in the world. It is famous because, during WWII, a bomb pierced the dome and fell to the Church floor without exploding – saving the lives of those parishioners present.

The ornate Mdina Cathedral contains magnificent works by Mattia Preti, while pilgrims and any curious tourist should visit the Ta’ Pinu Basilica, which famous for supposedly saving Gozo from the plague and now home to hundreds of mementoes from grateful worshippers.

Of Knights and Inquisitors

In the heart of Vittoriosa, Malta, the Inquisitor’s Palace is one of the very few surviving palaces of its kind which, in the early modern period could be found all over Europe and South America. Many of these palaces simply succumbed to the ravages of time or were victims of the anti-reactionary power unleashed by the French Revolution. Fortunately, the Maltese Inquisitor’s Palace, throughout its 5 centuries of history, always hosted high-ranking officials representing the main powers on the islands, who therefore ensured its survival.

Monsignor Pietro Dusina arrived in Malta in 1574 as the first general inquisitor and apostolic delegate of the Maltese Islands. The Grand Master offered him the unused palace as an official residence. Almost all successive inquisitors sought to transform the palace into a decent mansion. They all shared the same cultural values of clerical baroque Roman society, and by the mid-18th century they had managed successfully to transform the building into a typical Roman palace. The palace also managed to survive through the bombings of the Second World War and the threat of modern development.

It is today the only Inquisitor’s Place open to the public in the world and an architectural gem, representative of the chequered history and European heritage of the Maltese islands.

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The Inquisitor’s Place in Villoriosa is one of the very few surviving palaces of it’s kind, and the only one accessible to the general public.

The Heritage Multisite Pass is a convenient way to visit this and other heritage sites around the Islands.
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Getting Married in Malta

Offering a diverse range of wedding formats, from intimate sit down dinners and beachside ceremonies to church weddings and traditional receptions, Malta has a vast range of products and services available which make planning the ceremony relatively stress free and great value for money.

Flexible and able to tailor-make a package that suits all kinds of tastes and viewpoints; Malta offers both civil and religious ceremonies. In either case the legal formalities are relatively simple and can even be done in advance from your home country.

Being predominantly Roman Catholic, the Islands boast around 365 beautiful churches, making Malta & Gozo the ideal destination for those desiring a religious wedding. The elegance and splendour of one of Malta’s baroque parish church will provide a beautiful setting to a special day, or if intimacy and seclusion is desired, the many charming countryside chapels are ideal. However, couples of other denominations will also find their perfect place of worship for their dream wedding.

For those opting for a civil wedding, there is no end to the lovely indoor or outdoor venues to decide on. Since Malta has such a varied and colourful historical past, there are a number of interesting venues to choose from and are in no way limited to hotels and churches. The grandiose will love one of the grand baroque palaces with stunning gardens and those preferring something more rustic can choose a beautiful farmhouse set in the quaint countryside of Gozo. For nature lovers, Malta’s many beautiful sandy beaches, backdrops and countryside provide a location like no other.

[alerts title=”Hit LIKE to read our Recommendations…” type=”info”][like-gate]Non-residents who wish to marry in the Roman Catholic Church will have some formalities to complete in advance. The process is very straightforward and will involve providing documentation such as a birth certificates and a letters from the couples’ diocese in the country of origin. These would need to be submitted to the Maltese Diocese for those planning their wedding in Malta and Gozo Diocese for those intending to tie the knot on the sister Island of Gozo.

Once married, the ‘going away’ ritual is a memorable moment. So whether you choose a horse-drawn Karrozzin, a sleek limousine or even a traditional Dgħajsa boat in Valletta’s Grand Harbour you’ll be sure to enter your married life in unforgettable style.[/like-gate][/alerts]

Good Friday Pageant in Malta

Watch the TVM broadcast of the traditional Good Friday Pageant in Zejtun, Malta.

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Malta, being almost entirely Catholic, has strong religious traditions that are mostly evident during Holy Week and Easter. In this period of the year, even those less devout, get immersed in the local traditions that revolve around the Catholic feast of Easter.

The festivities for Easter start with Carnival, a 3-day fun fair before a lengthy 40-day lent period where devout Christians fast and refrain from eating meat. Following Carnival, the Church celebrates Ash Wednesday as the beginning ceremony for Lent. Read Full Article…

A Traditional Easter in Malta

Malta, being almost entirely Catholic, has strong religious traditions that are mostly evident during Holy Week and Easter.

In this period of the year, even those less devout, get immersed in the local traditions that revolve around the Catholic feast of Easter.

The festivities for Easter start with Carnival, a 3-day fun fair before a lengthy 40-day lent period where devout Christians fast and refrain from eating meat. Following Carnival, the Church celebrates Ash Wednesday as the beginning ceremony for Lent.

On the Friday preceding Good Friday, all the villages around the island are engulfed under the solemn mood to commemorate Our Lady of Sorrows. The village slows down until it comes to an halt in the early evening. With the last rays of sunshine, the statue of Our Lady exits the village Church, followed by a procession around the local streets.

The mood transforms into a joyous one on Palm Sunday as every village celebrates the entrace of Jesus into Jerusalem as He was welcomed by the community. On this day, it is a tradition for the Parish Priest to bless pets and domestic animals on the village square.

The following Thursday, known as Maundy Thursday, the religious community starts preparing for the passing away of Jesus Christ. The whole island is in mourning, lights are out and villagers hang crosses out of their balconies and windows to add to the atmosphere.

On Good Friday the entire island comes to a still, with most of the local people participating in the traditional Good Friday Pageants – a picturesque procession recounting the life of Jesus Christ with actors in costumes and huge statues being carried on shoulders.

On Easter Sunday, the religious community gathers in Churches all over the island to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, usually followed with the traditional running with the statue – a group of men running down the village square with the (heavy) statue of the Risen Lord on their shoulders. The celebration ends at home, with the family around the table savouring a traditional roast lamb.

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The most followed Good Friday Pagants are those in the villages of Zejtun, Mosta and Zebbug.

On Easter Sunday do not miss the running with the statue of the Risen Lord in Isla.

During this period, volunteers from social clubs and religious groups in most villages organise static displays of the Last Supper. Not to be missed

Taste the  Figolli (traditional Easter almond cakes), Prinjolata (traditional Carnival cake) and Kwareżimal (traditional Lent cookie)

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