Easter Celebrations in Malta

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The combination of good food, local traditions and warm weather makes Malta one of the top holiday destinations to experience the true joy of Easter. Discover more!

The most important religious Christian feast is celebrated with festivals, processions, passion plays, marches, and more! The combination of good food and sweets, local traditions, and inviting weather in the beginning of Spring makes a holiday in Malta very inviting for anyone who wants to experience the true joy of Easter.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent in March, whereby during Mass, the priest uses ashes to mark the faithful’s forehead with the sign of a cross, signifying death and repentance. 

A month later, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated with the faithful walking in a procession behind penitential pilgrimages in nearly every town and village. This is followed by the Holy Week that commences on Palm Sunday, 9th of April, and ends with Easter Sunday, on the 16th of April.

Palm Sunday is celebrated a week before Easter Sunday where palm leaves and olive branches are blessed with Holy Water before a waving them in a procession by the faithful.

Maundy Thursday falls on the eve of Good Friday. The priest, representing Jesus Christ, symbolically washes the feet of twelve people, representing apostles. Maltese families then gather for the Seven Church Visits to recite prayers and admire the decorated Altars of Ropes. A procession starts from the village square of Siggiewi in the early evening whereby a torch is lit and pilgrims walk up Girgenti Hill until they reach the summit at Laferla Cross.

Good Friday is a day of mourning, solemn remembrance and atonement, where no church bells are rung, religious processions take place and no mass is held apart from a special service. Ornamental decorations are removed from churches, with red being used to mimic the blood of Christ. Malta has some spectacular processions involving hundreds of cast members, some becoming main tourist attractions. The procession in Zebbug is renowned for its extravagance and use of horses while in Gozo, the village of Xaghra is home to the most notable procession.

Easter Celebrations in Malta

Holy Saturday remains a sombre time until the evening where devoted followers and tourists alike gather in church squares to witness the Rising of Christ celebration. The church begins in darkness and the candlelight slowly re-kindles, building up to an eruption of light where every light bulb, chandelier, and candle illuminates the whole church. At the exact moment of Resurrection, the hymn Glorja is sang passionately by the choir, and crowd too!

Easter Sunday festivities succeed the solemnity of Good Friday, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Church bells ring jubilantly, and statues of the Risen Christ are carried in the streets. The most notable spectacle is held in Birgu, where a group of men make a mad dash uphill bearing a statue of the Risen Christ. After mass, the Maltese eat lunch with their family.

Easter Celebrations in Malta

In Malta, all religious feasts have coordinating sweets or foods that are only consumed during that season. Strongly associated with delicious traditional food, Easter Day is celebrated with a special family lunch consisting of lamb, potatoes and vegetables, as well as the following sweets:

Figolli are the most popular traditional Easter food, baked and given to friends and family, especially children, on Easter Sunday. They are sweet almond cakes covered in icing or chocolate and decorated with half a chocolate Easter egg in colourful foil on the top. They are usually shaped into Christian traditional shapes such as fish, and others like cars, lambs and butterflies.

Easter Celebrations in Malta

Image taken from A Maltese Mouthful

Many Maltese fast for the duration of Lent. However, Kwarezimal are allowed. These are delicious chewy, nutty, orange-flower flavoured local biscuits.

Qaghaq tal-Appostoli are traditional unleavened loaves of bread eaten after the Seven Visits on Maundy Thursday. It is a ring-shaped loaf of unleavened bread made with honey and garnished with almonds and sesame seeds.

Book your flights to Malta over Lent or Easter and join in the festivities for yourself!