The Traditional (Spontaneous) Carnival in Malta

Carnival may be seen as an occasion for the younger ones to immerse themselves in the world of fantasy and fiction, but many adults take this occasion to party and express themselves in creative ways.

Here are a number of shots taken during this year’s edition of the Nadur (Gozo) Traditional Carnival, famous for attracting the weirdest and funniest carnival costumes on the islands.

 

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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.

[alerts title=”More Information” type=”info”]Malta Council for Culture & the Arts Website: //www.maltaculture.com [/alerts]

Marsaxlokk to host International Fireworks Festival

One of the spectacular nights of the Malta International Fireworks Festival this year will be held in the port of Marsaxlokk. Between the 25th and 30th April 2014, the skies will fill with colour as local and international pyrotechnic companies showcase and compete during this festival.

Malta is very well knows for it’s colourfull fireworks during the Festa season, which offers aerial shows practically every weekend all Summer long. However, the International Fireworks Festival offers the public an opportunity to admire the skill and creativity of these masters of fireworks way before the villages start celebrating their traditional Festas.

Marsaxlokk, together with Bugibba and the capital city Valletta, will be hosting a night full of fireworks during this year’s edition of the Fireworks Festival to be held during the last week of April.

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L-Imnarja – a feast of light

The Feast commemorates two important Saints in Maltese religious lore, St Peter and St Paul. The word ‘luminarja’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Luminara’ – light source. This was the way people manifested their joy in recognition of a particular feast, such lighting being offered by burning bonfires and candles. This feast has somewhat moved away from the traditional village ‘festa’ style and has developed a different type of merriment which is held in Buskett Garden on the eve of June 29 the day of the feast. This is a tree grove situated some one kilometre away from Rabat and it is typical for the night to be entertained by folk musicians, and traditional cuisine and local wine.

The liturgical services are held in the Mdina Cathedral. During the late afternoon hours, numerous horse and donkey races are held in a country lane situated just below and at some distance from Mdina. The contenders vie for the Palju (a traditional banner that is presented as a trophy to the winners of various categories of races) which in olden times used to be presented to the winners by non other than the Grand Master of the Order.

The feast of St. Peter and St. Paul is also celebrated in Nadur, Gozo, this time in the usual festive manner that is normally held in towns and villages.

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Do not miss the competition at Buskett on the 29th where fresh fruit and farm animals contest for the best in their category. Best to be at Buskett as early at 8:00am to enjoy the full parade. Easy to spot is the Maltese bull for it’s size, and temperament.

Do not miss the traditional donkey and mule race at Saqqajja (Rabat)[/like-gate]

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Good Friday Pageant in Malta

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

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Read More about it

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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Village Feasts in Malta and Gozo

The most important event in every village is their individual festas, honouring their parish patron saint. The week-long celebration marries religious rituals usually taking place within the Church, and outdoor celebration including marching bands, processions, fireworks and a colourful grand final.

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A Festival of Fireworks

Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Wednesday 30th April 2014

A number of Maltese and foreign fireworks factories will be participating in this competitive Fireworks Festival, presenting spectacular pyrotechnic displays synchronised to music. .

Tradition of Fireworks in Malta
Fireworks in Malta have a long tradition which goes back to the time of the Order of the Knights of St. John. The feu de joie using gun salutes, the musketterija firing of muskets, the solfarelli d’aria, St. Catherine’s wheels (irdieden) and other forms of fireworks originated from explosives that were lit off from mortars (maskli) as an expression of rejoicing. Special occasions when such festivities were held were: the election of a Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John, the election of a Pope who was the overall protector and ruler of the Order, the birth of a prince from a friendly European state or else to mark an important victory over the Ottoman military might. Fireworks developed into a craft when the Maltese started to celebrate the events connected to their British rulers in the 19th and 20th centuries. This centuries-old tradition is still very much alive in the crowded calendar of village festas that take place all over Malta and Gozo, especially in the summer months.

More info at //www.maltafireworksfestival.com/

 

Festive Seaside Tradition in Malta seen as Crazy

One of Britain’s leading newspapers has tried to interpret one of Malta’s most daring festive traditions – the ‘gostra’. Attached to the traditional religious village Festa, the gostra is unique to seaside villages that set up a pole off the water’s edge, stick a prize (or a flag) at the very end, then after greasing it well, challenge the locals to climb.

Perhaps images explain this tradition much better than words. Even better, a visit to St Julians during the Festa might land you a challenge you also cannot refuse!

And here’s what the Daily Mail had to say about it: //www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401919/Feast-St-Julian-Contestants-grapple-crazy-game-religious-festival-Malta.html