Hamis ix-Xirka (Maundy Thursday)
Immerse yourself in old Maltese traditions and customs …
Hamis ix-Xirka (Maundy Thursday) is the day before Good Friday. On this day, the Last Supper of Jesus Christ is commemorated.
This is done with various religious functions and activities which are organized all across the Maltese Islands.
What is Maundy Thursday like on the Maltese Islands?
A popular Maltese tradition that goes on around this time is the Last Supper exhibition.
You will find countless representations of the Last Supper in model form. You can see these exhibitions in many churches, both in Malta and Gozo. These type of exhibitions require a lot of work and dedication and are all done on a voluntary basis. Months and months of work is required for these exhibitions to be a success.
In these Last Supper exhibitions, you will see life size statues depicting Jesus and the Apostles, elaborate religious rice “paintings” and much more! Definitely worth a visit if you’re holidaying on the Maltese Islands during Holy Week.
A popular procession which is held on Hamis ix-Xirka is the one that is held at Girgenti.
The event starts from the village square of Siggiewi early evening and proceeds to Girgenti Hill until the Laferla Cross is reached. The procession is held in torchlight!
On Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), there is also a “special” mass service whereby the priest symbolically washes the feet of twelve men. The priest represents Jesus Christ and the twelve men represent the apostles.
After this mass, everyone goes on to do the “Seba’ Visti” - this is a tradition whereby prayers are said in seven different churches.
This Maundy Thursday custom of visiting seven different churches is very popular with the locals. People often combine these visits with a visit to one or two Last Supper exhibitions.
It is essentially like a short “tour” to seven churches or chapels. These prayers can also be said on Good Friday until noon. This tradition is said to be an ancient one and can be traced back to Ancient Rome!
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