Elaborate costumes, beautiful statues & more!
A visit to at least one of the many Good Friday processions in Malta and Gozo is a definite must if you're visiting the Maltese Islands during Holy Week.
The Good Friday procession is a unique type of religious street parade that has long been a tradition on the Maltese Islands.
This fascinating event is very much sought after by both locals and visitors to this day.
In fact, it can safely be said that the Good Friday procession (or Il-Purcissjoni tal-Gimgha l-Kbira as it’s known in Maltese) ranks higher in popularity than Easter Sunday processions.
This type of procession is held in various towns and villages all across the Maltese Islands.
In Malta, Good Friday processions are held in Vittoriosa, Cospicua, Senglea, Valletta, Zejtun, Zebbug, Qormi, Mosta, Rabat, Naxxar, Gharghur, Paola, Luqa and Ghaxaq.
While in Gozo, processions are held in Victoria, Xaghra, Nadur, Xewkija, Zebbug, Qala and Ghasri.In Victoria, two separate processions are held!
So wherever you’re staying, you can rest assured that you’ll find a procession going on close by.
Something that is somewhat surprising to the visitor, is the fact that these elaborate processions are not organized for any commercial gain.
It’s all done on a voluntary basis.
Preparations for these processions start months before the actual event and attention to detail is of utmost importance for everything to run smoothly on the big day.
You will see various statues that represent the final hours of Jesus Christ before he was crucified.
You’ll also see lots of voluntary participants who dress up as various related characters from the Bible. Popular characters include Herod, Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Veronica and much more! Each procession typically has dozens of people dressed up as Roman soldiers.
In some localities, the sheer detail that goes on into the creation of the costumes used (especially the Roman soldiers' ones) is enough to make your visit worth while!
Worthy of a mention here is the procession held in Zejtun.
This is one of the longest and most detailed ones on the island.
Nowadays, the amount of statues in each procession ranges from 8 to 12.
However in the old days, only one statue was used.
You will also see many brass bands that accompany the statues and parade with solemn and sombre funeral marches.
The first Good Friday procession that was ever organized was held in Rabat, Malta. In Rabat, they also have the oldest Good Friday statue on the island. It is believed to be some 400 years old!
Good Friday processions in Malta and Gozo usually start at 5.00 pm.