Easter in Malta is a tradition-fuelled celebration, undoubtedly unique in its kind.
With processions, celebrations, and traditional food, celebrating Easter in Malta will make your stay on the island an unforgettable experience.
The dates we celebrate Easter change year-to-year. However, they always fall sometime between the end of March and the 25th of April, following the Carnival season. This usually coincides with the beginning of Spring in Malta, typically characterised by warm and longer days.
The Easter holidays are the ideal time to explore the Maltese islands. Predominantly a Christian country, a lot is happening during this time of the year in Malta.
Easter celebrations tend to run for more than a week. They start on the Friday preceding Palm Sunday and end on Easter Sunday. Most of these events happen on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.
There are celebrations happening all over the island. There’s a calendar full of events if you’re looking to experience Easter like a local. The following are just some of the Maltese traditions to engage in during this period.
During this time of the year, many processions are happening all over the island. Most of them commemorate different events in the Bible.
Opening the Easter calendar of events is the procession for Our Lady of Sorrows. Here, most towns in Malta organise a cortège as the statue of Our Lady. During the procession, the statue is carried through the streets to the sound of prayer and religious hymns.
On Good Friday, various solemn processions are happening around the island. Here, bearers carry statues representing different events in the Passion of the Christ on their arms or shoulders.
In these processions, you may also spot locals dressed as different biblical characters. Similarly, in certain towns, you might also see people wearing a cross and dragging chains as a form of penance.
Finally, perhaps the most-known procession is the one happening on Easter Sunday. And that is where the statue of Risen Christ is paraded along the streets to the sound of triumphant bells and festive hymns.
Once the procession is over, the streets are cleared to make way for a unique event. And that is when the Risen Christ statue is returned to its original place in the church. What makes this event so distinctive is the way the statue-bearers do this. That’s because they run up to the church, with the statue on their arms or shoulders. It’s definitely something you won’t see every day. And, the balance and commitment shown by the statue-bearers is inarguably admirable!
As you can imagine, this occurrence is definitely a must-see, and is something the Maltese look forward to every year.
On Maundy Thursday, locals engage in what is known as the Seven Churches Visitation. Here, the faithful visit seven churches on Thursday evening to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in each church.
The itinerary worshipers follow tends to be as varied as possible. More so considering there are 365 churches and chapels scattered throughout the islands.
Some spots on the island are more popular than others to participate in this pilgrimage. These include Mdina and Rabat, The Three Cities, and Valletta. In these locations there’s a higher concentration of churches. Most of these churches boast some of the most beautiful architecture and works of art on the islands.
On Maundy Thursday, there’s another pilgrimage, this time starting in Siggiewi. During this event, attendees follow a candle-lit trail along the Maltese countryside up to the Laferla Cross. This solemn journey has gained popularity over the years as locals engage in this pilgrimage to recount the Way of the Cross while meditating.
Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday Celebrations
Easter celebrations start picking up on Saturday evening, as the devoted gather in church squares to participate in the Rising of Christ celebrations.
As the choir and participants sing to the Gloria hymn, a gradual build-up of light illuminates the church until all the lights are on, symbolising the Resurrection.
Similarly, this jubilant mood takes over Easter Sunday. The bells ring triumphantly on Sunday morning as crowds meet in town squares to celebrate together, exchange greetings, and attend mass.
After mass, locals will return home to gather with their families for an abundant Easter Lunch. Similarly, some families might opt for lunch at a restaurant, most of which offer a special menu to celebrate this important feast.
The Maltese culinary tradition is a trademark of the islands—encompassing everything from starters to main courses, desserts, and much more.
Unsurprisingly, there are many traditional foods the Maltese like to enjoy during this time of the year—which is an excellent way of getting a taste of the local flavours.
The “Qaghaq tal-Appostli” is a ring-shaped loaf of bread, making it hard to miss while on the island. You can easily recognise this type of bread through its shape and the almonds and sesame seeds used to decorate it.
You can buy this bread from most bakeries during Lent. However, you can find different stands outside the churches during Maundy Thursday selling this kind of bread fresh out of the oven.
Moving to sweets, perhaps the most popular local Easter food is the “Figolla”. These are almond-filled pastries, usually covered in icing or chocolate and decorated with various colourful and tasty sweets.
Figolli come in multiple shapes. These include animal figures, cars, ovals, and are sold all over Malta and Gozo.
Similarly, Easter Eggs, especially those containing a small surprise inside, are very popular among the locals.
These hollow chocolate eggs are something children (and adults) look forward to throughout the season, with a variety of brands making their version of the classic Easter Egg.
Finally, when it comes to the traditional Easter Lunch, the locals enjoy their typical Maltese and Mediterranean food.
On the other hand, some households opt for the traditional Easter lunch. This is an abundant meal consisting of lamb, potatoes, and vegetables.
Celebrate Easter in Malta at the 1926 Hotel
With many celebrations, great food traditions, and much more, it’s easy to see why spending Easter in Malta can be an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lodging in a well-connected spot can help you make the best out of your stay this Easter, regardless of how you get around the island.
Our rooms at 1926 Hotel are a luxurious, sustainable, and comfortable option located in Sliema, the heart of Malta.
Book your room now, or contact us at email@example.com or + 365 21333565 for more information.