Cultural Activities in Malta & Gozo
Gozo’s cultural calendar is ongoing with exciting activities scheduled through the year. A varied selection of religious activities also dominate the calendar.
As a Catholic island, Gozo is buzzing around Christmas time and there is a myriad of events on offer. For centuries locals have built elaborate cribs in their homes and many large scale models are on show in various halls and clubs. The main streets, churches and buildings are decorated with twinkling lights giving the whole island a gleam. Many towns hold Christmas pageants and activities culminate on Christmas Eve at elaborate midnight masses.
Gozo comes alive with colour at Carnival as floats make their way through the towns and children dress up in magnificent costumes. Dance companies and band clubs take to the streets in revelry and everyday life is forgotten for a short while.
In a unique twist on the ordinary, the usually-sleepy town of Nadur also breaks lose during this period. A spontaneous and grotesque carnival takes place here after sunset and thousands of Maltese and Gozitan youths descend on the village for a mad weekend of costume-clad partying where anything is possible. Not an event for the faint hearted, but definitely not to be missed.
Theatre and Opera
Gozo has two theatres, the Aurora Opera House and the Astra Theatre. Both have seen a rise in popularity in recent years, especially thanks to the improvement of their respective calendars and have become synonymous with local and foreign opera names. A medley of local and international drama, music and dance troupes also regularly perform on the Island.
Dominating the summer calendar, traditional village feasts date back to the 16th Century and are still going strong all over Malta and Gozo today. The festa is the main social event in the village year and is the outcome of months of hard work by willing volunteers. Celebrations begin with three days of prayer leading up to the feast day. The highlight of each feast is a huge firework display that takes place at around midnight on the Saturday night amid much revelry, food and fun.
Now a regular part of Gozo’s calendar, Notte Gozitana (Gozitan Night) is an exciting celebration of Gozo and its people. The annual programme boasts an eclectic mix of different art forms ensuring it will appeal to culture lovers of all ages.
As a Catholic island, Gozo takes the feast of Easter extremely seriously and religious activities are ongoing throughout this period. Holy Week is a packed with events culminating in a unique and fascinating Good Friday procession. During the procession several life-sized statues depicting the last hours of Christ’s life are carried around the town and accompanied by the village band.
Easter day is traditionally celebrated with a family lunch and it is customary to visit relatives and friends. It’s also tradition to give children a ‘figolla’, (an almond-filled pastry, covered in colourful icing) and Easter eggs.