Festa in Gozo
This tiny Mediterranean island offers up a plethora of activities throughout the year, keeping even the most jaded travellers entertained.
From the wild carnival celebrations in Nadur (unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed before) to the humbling experience of Ġgantija – you can eat, pray, and love your way around this fascinating piece of geography all year round and never experience the slightest tinge of ennui.
Gozo’s events calendar is full of celebrations that have now gained an excellent reputation around the world. One of the first, and certainly the most notorious, is the carnival celebration held in the tiny hamlet of Nadur.
Carnival activities here have gained somewhat of a cult status, owing to the bizarre nature in which the locals express themselves. Spectators are treated to wild displays of street exhibitions where the intention is more to shock than to titillate. Unlike carnival celebrations in Rio, the locals do the most outrageous costumes and carry out bizarre acts of macabre street theatre imaginable. For the uninitiated, it can be slightly confusing, but if you’re willing to go with the flow, there’s plenty of cold beer, hotdogs and outrageous costumes to keep you entertained.
Apart from scorching heat, the Summer brings with it Festa season, where locals celebrate their village patron saint with fireworks, band marches, and religious ceremonies. While most of Gozo’s tiny villages punch well above their weight when it comes to Festa festivities, one of the most popular remains the feast of St George’s, patron saint of the eponymous basilica located in the Island’s capital Victoria. Apart from thunderous fireworks displays, street vendors, and marching bands, the celebrations include horse and donkey races.
Summer celebrations reach their peak around the feast of The Assumption of Mary, on the 15th of August. Around this time, tourists both foreign and from mainland Malta arrive in droves, take up temporary residence in hotels or self-catering accommodation, and spend the days at the beach or socialising at one of the many seaside eateries.
Beyond the calendar of events, Gozo’s attractions are many. If you prefer setting your own itinerary, then this small island lends itself perfectly to exploration on foot, by public transport, or by rental car. Since distance is not an object, you can visit the Neolithic temples of Ġgantija, marvelling at one of the world’s oldest structures, followed by a refreshing dip at any of the Island’s beaches, easily within a morning. Take in the sights at Dwejra, an area of stunning natural beauty with rock formations, including the Azure Window, and a picturesque inland sea.
The Island’s churches, chapels and basilica’s are numerous. Dotted all over the island, many of these places of worship are fantastically ornate and offer architecture and history buffs plenty to keep them entertained – just remember to dress appropriately if you’re planning on entering the buildings.