Malta — Festivals and Events
Malta’s mild climate makes it ideal for festivals all year round, many of which, such as Easter and the Holy Week are prompted by the religious calendar. Eating, drinking and music are happy preoccupations of the Maltese, and there are many events, such as the Delicata Wine Festivals, which celebrate all three.
This annual week-long spectacle takes place in Valetta each February. The carnival involves marching bands, parades, masked balls, masquerade competitions, fireworks, and wild parties running late into the night. Many villages across Malta have smaller celebrations at this time, including the island of Gozo which has a stranger, more ghoulish flavor to proceedings.
Easter Holy Week
Holy Week and Easter are religious celebrations that take place in churches all over Malta, usually during April. Proceedings begin with a street procession bearing Our Lady of Sorrows on the Friday before Good Friday. On the eve of Good Friday, participants visit and pay homage to the Altars of Repose at seven different churches. Church decorations are removed for Good Friday and a solemn procession of statues depicting different episodes of the Passion of Christ takes place through the streets. The church bells ring out the next Sunday, celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. A festive, musical street parade bears the Risen back to church. Easter is a traditional family day in Malta and children are often given chocolate eggs and animal shaped pastries covered in sugar.
Malta International Fireworks Festival
The Malta International Fireworks Festival is an annual event to celebrate Malta’s long firework making history. Local and visiting fireworks producers are invited to stage displays over two days in the Grand Harbour of Valletta. The event takes place in the final days of April and is free for spectators. The best views are from the wharfs of Ta’ Liesse and Barriera, Valletta.
Malta International Jazz Festival
The Malta International Jazz Festival brings the best local and overseas jazz musicians to Malta for a three day spectacular that takes place in July at the Valetta Grand Harbor’s historic Ta’ Liesse wharf .
Farsons Great Beer Festival
Farsons Great Beer Festival is an outdoor celebration of music and drinks which has been running over a week in late July/early August since 1981. The festival is held in Ta’ Qali National Park and offers free parking and entrance. Participants can sample local and international beers and food, enjoy free live performances and collect an official souvenir mug.
Delicata Wine Festivals
The Delicata Wine Festivals were started by Emmanuel Delicata, Malta’s oldest family-run winery, which has been in business since 1907. The Delicata Wine Festival, Malta, celebrates the opening of the Malta grape harvest and takes place at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta. The Delicata Wine Festival of Gozo is based in the village of Nadur to mark the harvest close in September. Both take place over several days and feature food, entertainment, and of course, wine. Participants who are over 18 years old can buy a souvenir glass to try an unlimited number of tastings.
This annual event takes place during September, when Valletta lights up for the night celebration of Notte Bianca. Palaces, museums, cafés, and restaurants are open late and there are special exhibitions and performances. Food stalls line the streets, which are filled with people having a good time and savoring Maltese entertainment, food and culture, well into the night.
Christmas is a major celebration in Malta, both from a religious and community perspective. Throughout December, most churches have a calendar of events for the festive season, including Nativity scenes, carolling, and processions of Mary and Joseph. Crib displays are a particularly notable cultural tradition, often involving great craftsmanship and attention to detail. Many are automated and going around to view the different displays is a common activity. Shops, schools and cultural centers also have Christmas activities ranging from decorations to pantomime shows.