From the traditional to the sombre, Easter is a special time for the Maltese.
This time of the year is a symbolic one for many reasons – Easter marks the change of the season as well as brings about a deluge of religious functions, events and activities, and of course; confectionary.
Celebrations leading up to Holy Week are primarily religious and take place in churches or village streets in the form of processions. These are meant to commemorate the death and resurrection of the Christ. If you happen to be around Malta during this time, visiting any of these activities is definitely one to add to your list.
This starts on the Friday preceding Good Friday and a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is carried in a procession through the streets of various towns and villages across Malta and Gozo.
This is celebrated on the eve of Good Friday and it is customary to partake in the ‘seven visits’. These generally include a visit to seven different churches in order to pay respect to the Altars of Repose. Certain churches and private residences host various displays and tableaux related to Holy Week.
Sombre yet intriguing, Good Friday is the only day of the year where mass is not celebrated. Most churches are deprived from their traditional decorative glory. Late afternoon, certain towns and villages relive the passion of the Christ through a solemn procession of statues representing the final hours of Jesus Christ carried by bearers. This procession is generally accompanied by devotees dressed as biblical characters, as well as men and women bearing crosses and sometimes dragging chains tied to their bare feet as an act of contrition or faith.
The mood changes completely and the ringing of the church bells first thing in the morning announce the Risen Christ. Mid-morning, a procession moves along the streets of local towns and villages, accompanied by a marching band. Towards the end of the procession, the way is cleared and statue bearers offer a grand finale by running with the statue back to the church.
Easter Day is traditionally celebrated with the family and a celebratory lunch, and it is a custom to give children chocolate eggs as well as ‘figolli’ that include almond-filled pastry in various shapes that can range from a rabbit or a lamb to a heart or, more recently, even a mermaid.
If you happen to be staying in Malta during this time, the Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort are hosting lunches at all three of their fantastic restaurants on Easter Sunday. Check out our Easter menus and reserve your spot right here.