Thinking of spending your Easter in Malta? Then read on. In 2017, Holy Week will start on the 9th of April (Palm Sunday) and Easter Sunday is going to be celebrated on the 16th of April. The majority of Malta’s population are devout Catholics and therefore it should come as no surprise that Easter in Malta is a big event.
However, even if you’re not the religious type or are a non-believer, most of the Maltese traditions that take place during the Easter period are generally interesting to watch or participate in for any visitor who may happen to be holidaying in Malta during that time.
During Lent, there are a lot of religious events that take place, and are mostly practiced by all Catholics across the globe.
However, on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday some interesting practices take place in Malta. On Hamis ix-Xirka (Maundy Thursday) many locals participate in specific religious events that are held on the day. For more information on what goes on during Maundy Thursday, visit our Hamis ix-Xirka page. On Good Friday, no church bells are rung. Instead, in some of the old villages, a different and unique instrument is played. For more information on this intriguing Maltese tradition, visit our Cuqlajta page. On Good Friday, a lot of Maltese towns and villages stage biblical re-enactments. These captivating, sombre and elaborate pageants feature life size statues and biblical characters.
Some parades even have horses in the re-enactment. Roman soldiers feature heavily in these processions, and some villages have these Roman soldiers parade on their horses with chariots and the whole works. The Good Friday re-enactment in Zebbug, Malta is one of them.
Most processions also have participants dressed in white robes and hoods, walk the parade with lots of metal chains tied at their ankles and dragging them the whole way or carrying wooden crosses in penitence. In the old days, this tradition was more widespread than today. Overall, the total number of participants in the Good Friday re-enactment is always in the hundreds. So there's lots to see!
For more information on these popular Maltese processions, visit our Good Friday Processions in Malta and Gozo page.
On Easter Sunday, the atmosphere is completely different all across the island, since it is a day of joy and celebrations.
Towns and villages celebrate the resurrection of Christ with lively band marches and a short procession with the statue of the Risen Christ. The procession starts right after the morning mass at around 10.00am. An interesting yet somewhat funny tradition is to run with the statue of the Risen Christ. This does not occur in all processions, but only at the harbour towns of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua.
So if you want to see some 6 men running with a statue of Christ on their shoulders, you know where you have to go :)
As with all major celebrations and events on the Maltese islands, you will find a traditional sweet or type of food that’s savoured exclusively during that particular time. And Lent and Easter in Malta, are no different! Kusksu is a traditional Maltese fava bean soup which is cooked mainly during Lent. Qaghaq ta' l-Appostli (Apostles' bread rings) is a special type of bread prepared for the Lenten period and sold mostly on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
By far, the most popular Maltese Easter sweet is the figolla. Maltese figolli are baked sweet pastry cut in different shapes (ranging from butterflies, fish, sirens to lambs, etc) filled with almonds. They are coated with icing sugar and colorfully decorated with chocolate and Easter eggs. If you'd like to get the recipe for these delicious cakes, visit our Maltese Easter Recipes page.
Tradition dictates that figolli should not be eaten until Easter Sunday, when it’s time to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. On Easter Sunday, you can see many kids with their figolla during the procession because it’s customary for them to have their figolla blessed during this event. Easter lunch is also highly popular since it’s a time for the whole family to meet, celebrate and eat and drink together. They exchange Easter presents and the main meal is usually the traditional lamb, with potatoes and vegetables. Followed by a slice of figolla, of course :)
Easter eggs and Colomba (an italian Easter sweet) are also very popular.
During Lent, another sweet is also popular with the locals. It’s the kwarezimal and it’s basically a small almond cake made with milk, flour, black honey, spices and of course almonds.
The number of visitors that choose Malta as their travel destination for Easter has been increasing for years. And for good reason too, because Easter in Malta will invariably mean warm weather (compared to other European countries), a good peak into Maltese culture and traditions and a time for celebration on Easter Sunday.
If you'd like to know what to expect in general, as regards to the weather in Malta during this time, go to our Malta Weather pages for April here -->> The Weather in Malta in April. The number of visitors who decide to spend their Easter in Malta is increasing year after year.