Thinking of spending your Christmas in Malta in 2018? Christmas on the Maltese islands is a largely religious affair, due to the fact that the majority of the Maltese people are devout Catholics. Having said that, over the past decades Malta has adopted many popular Christmas practices that you see all across the world. So if you spend Christmas in Malta, you will experience a healthy mix of local religious traditions together with modern times holiday cheer and activities.
The Presepju (Christmas Crib)
Christmas cribs feature heavily practically everywhere during the holiday season. Some churches put up mechanized cribs which are virtually works of art. Cribs are in fact one of the most popular Christmas traditions in Malta and Gozo.
Many Maltese people, especially in Gozo, decorate their windows with little Christmas displays which include small statues of baby Jesus in a crib, elaborate cribs and sometimes impressive light decorations and arrangements.
During the Christmas season, the Maltese islands are practically littered with Presepju displays (presepju is the Maltese word for cribs). More so in Gozo perhaps. The best crib displays in Gozo are the two located in Xaghra.
One is a mechanized crib in the parish church, while the other crib using life-size figures is displayed in a wartime shelter underneath the town square. If you'd like to learn more about this old Maltese Christmas tradition, visit our Maltese Christmas Customs: Cribs page. For a list of some of the most popular Christmas crib displays that are usually held across the islands, visit our Top Favourite Christmas Crib Exhibitions page.
Father Christmas and the Christmas Tree make an appearance too!
The climax of all the religious activities comes on Christmas Eve, when practically everyone goes to the Midnight Mass Service.
Local Christmas carols are sung in the beginning and an interesting highlight is when a little boy or a girl tells the story of the nativity in the form of a sermon, instead of the priest! For more information on this cute local tradition, visit our Maltese Xmas Traditions page.
Christmas Day in Malta is largely a family affair and is a special occasion for families to reunite. It’s part of the Maltese culture and tradition for all extended members of the family to assemble in one house for Christmas lunch and practically spend the whole day together, eating, drinking and celebrating Christmas, the Maltese way – this practically translates to eating for a whole week in one day! :)
Qaghaq ta' l-Ghasel (Honey Rings) are consumed in abundance during the festive season!
The Maltese Christmas menu consists generally of dishes that were inherited during the British rule in Malta. So for lunch, you will most likely see things like turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies being served, together with other traditional Maltese food.
A local Christmas dessert is the 'Qaghaq ta’ l-Ghasel', which means honey rings. This is something that you have to try if you’re spending Christmas in Malta. Simply delicious! If you'd like to get the recipe for these yummy sweets, visit our Maltese Christmas Sweets Recipes page.
Due to the proximity of Italy, the traditional Italian Christmas favourite, the panetone (sweet bread often covered in chocolate) has also become very popular over recent years.
If you're thinking of visiting Malta during Christmas time, you're probably wondering what the weather would be like. If so, go to our Weather in Malta at Christmas page for more details on what kind of weather you can expect during the month of December.
Like most countries, Christmas on the Maltese Islands is a busy time, but it's also a time to spend good quality time with your family and friends.
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