Christmas in Malta
Christmas in Malta so far has never been a White Christmas, but surely is a very special time for its Maltese spirit and all tourists who come to visit the island. Named by CNN as one of the most Christmassy places in the world, apart from all the partying, lights, singing, food, drinks, presents and much more Christmas decorations and happiness it brings, the Maltese people celebrate baby Jesus birth of more than 2,000 years ago.
In Malta, Christmas is highlighted with a series of events that are highlighted during this special time. Being most of Malta is Catholic, it’s almost a must for the Maltesers to attend the traditional midnight mass held at each locality around the Maltese islands as part of the Maltese Christmas culture. During this midnight mass, normally it includes ‘Il-Priedka tal-Milied’ – normally preached by an altar boy or girl in Maltese language. This tradition dates back to 1883 and normally it will take the child a few days or even weeks to learn it all by heart.
Many local main streets are decorated with Christmas decorations, whilst Christmas carols can be heard out of street speakers that will get passers-by in the festive mood easily.
Cribs (presepji) viewing is also a main Maltese attraction. They literally come in all types and styles from static, live and also mechanically operated. There are a lot of crib displays around the Maltese islands. One of the main island’s live crib attractions can be found year after year in Ghajnsielem, Gozo, so called ‘Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem’.
This year will be the seventh edition of Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem. It will open from Sunday 6th December and remains open till Sunday 3rd January 2016. Entrance is FREE, and no bookings are required. Those attending will experience a unique Christmas experience. Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem offers a naturalistic reproduction of Bethlehem of 2000 years ago. On entrance, a map is given to all visitors to enhance the overall experience. ‘Bethlehem f’ Għajnsielem’ will once again bring this timeless nativity story to life in a unique experience not worth missing!
Another local Christmas event celebrated year after year is Milied Melliehi 2015 (Mellieha Nights 2015) held in Mellieha. This year it will be held from 22 till 24 December 2015 from 7.30pm onwards in Misrah iz-Zjara tal-Papa Gwanni Pawlu II in Mellieha. Many attractions for all the family range from singing to dancing, art exhibitions, crafts’ and cribs’ exhibitions, sales of books, pony rides, children’s area, live crib and sales of local produce. There will also be traditional food and drink.
Traditional Christmas Day
As for traditional Christmas food especially for Christmas Lunch, back in the years the Maltese housewives used to cook a rooster (male chicken) which was roasted at the local bakery. Nowadays, the traditional Maltese Christmas Lunch has made way for Christmas turkey, Christmas Cakes, Mince Pies and even Italian Pannetone. Typical mulled-wine is also a favourite Christmas drink in Malta.
Most of all, like many other countries, Christmas in Malta is mostly enjoyed by kids. In fact children in Malta get their Christmas presents from Santa Claus on Christmas night or Christmas Day. Government and private schools around the Maltese islands often hold an annual Christmas concert for all the children, teachers and parents to enjoy, whilst showing their singing and acting talents. Normally children parties are also held in each class.
Blog by Ramona Portelli