11 April 2014
Easter is fast approaching. All super markets and convenience stores are overstocked with chocolate eggs and rabbit themed decorations. This said, Easter feels different in Malta and is taken very seriously.
Malta is notorious for celebrating this period in a liturgical and prominent manner. On Palm Sunday, one may assist to the liturgical rites that bring in Holy Week. On Thursday evening and Friday morning churches around Malta will have their paintings covered in purple or black velvet. The Maltese turn out in their thousands to visit and pray. Seven different churches around the island are typically observed and is known as the “Seven Visits”.
During the late afternoon on Good Friday, some 17 different villages and towns commemorate the Passion of Christ with an organised and solemn procession of statues through the streets. Each statue represents a particular episode in the Passion of the Christ and is carried by pallbearers. There are ten statues paraded in total and in-between participants dress up as biblical characters. Many processions include men in penitence bearing a cross and dragging chains tied to their bare feet.
Easter then manifests itself into a much happier and celebratory mood. Tradition dictates that children carry their Easter pastry known as Figolli to be blessed by the statue of the Risen Christ. Figolli are typically shaped as a butterfly, rabbit or heart and are covered with icing of all different colours. The pastries are filled with almond paste and are a well-loved tradition during Easter.
Easter would not be complete without a good party! After the Maltese families have met for a traditional lamb lunch (lots of mint sauce please!) many look to soak up the sunshine and meet with friends to enjoy the holiday period. One particular event notorious for being really good fun in a beautiful surrounding year after year is Egging Your Sunday held at Madliena Cottage. Starting at 14:00 and running into the early hours of the morning, good times are guaranteed. I'll be there for sure!
Author: Sabine Jung