Best Holy Week and Easter activities around Malta

21 January 2019

Easter is truly a magnificent highlight on the Maltese calendar. Even if you do not consider yourself religious, or you follow a different faith, this time of year is an incredible period to sample the traditions and way of life within the Maltese islands.

So, if you are considering taking a holiday this Easter, why not visit Malta so that you can experience what Holy Week here entails? Below we list some of the best Holy Week and Easter activities you wouldn’t want to miss around the island!

Visit some beautifully illuminated churches

Easter in Malta

As Malta is a country deeply rooted in its Catholic faith, you will find no shortage of churches (in fact, there are 359 to be exact!). In any given view across the islands, you will surely lay your eyes upon a grand church or a small chapel across the horizon. 

During Easter time, the churches of Malta and Gozo are decorated in their splendour, both internally and externally. Outside you will notice an abundance of lights providing an ethereal feel while inside many boast a selection of sacred statues accurately demonstrating the passion of the Christ. 

On Maundy Thursday, the ‘seven visits’ take place, which are the visits to seven different churches of your choice, to pay tribute to the Altars of Repose. Popular churches to visit are ones in Rabat and Mdina, the Three Cities, Valletta and many more. 

Take the Laferla Cross pilgrimage in Siġġiewi

Easter in Malta

Image Copyright: ViewingMalta

The Southwestern village of Siġġiewi takes things up a notch on Maundy Thursday. Thousands of pilgrims walk together, praying and singing hymns in a torch-lit procession to Laferla Cross. This cross is known by the locals as “Is-Salib tal-Għolja”, translating to “The Cross on the Hill” due to it being located on 219-meter-high hill. Along the way, there are various beautifully decorated shrines. The procession continues all the way through the night.

Additionally, prior to the start of the Laferla Cross walk, Thursday sees Siġġiewi’s Parish Church of San Nikola lit up in thousands of candles, a truly memorable addition to your itinerary.

Attend a Good Friday Procession 

Easter in Malta

Good Friday of the Holy week sees the solemn procession through the streets of many Maltese towns and villages. One that particularly stands out year after year is the one in Ħaż-Żebbuġ, a neighbouring city of Siggiewi.  Hundreds of actors dressed as Jewish priests, Roman soldiers, and important Biblical figures slowly walk along to the continuous sound of funeral marches played by brass bands. Behind follow intricately carved statues, some hundreds of years old, depicting the passion and death of Jesus Christ.

Experience an Easter Sunday Celebration

Easter in Malta

Image Copyright: ViewingMalta

To commemorate the Resurrection of Christ, on Easter Sunday, the solemn mood of Good Friday is completely transformed into an atmosphere of great joy around the island.

The churches are open, a special mass is celebrated, and the bells chime happily across Malta and Gozo. Processions with the statue of l-Irxoxt (the Risen Christ) see many customs that the Maltese have had for centuries. This tradition is repeated every year in a number of localities around Malta and Gozo. For example, in Cospicua and Qormi, a group of men run the last stretch of the road leading to the church with the statue whilst people throw confetti from the windows to celebrate. It is truly a euphoric moment to experience. 

Taste traditional Easter sweets

Easter in Malta

On top of this, Easter time in Malta brings along with it lots of tasty delicacies to indulge in. Most notably, the figolla is a pastry sweet filled with an almond paste and topped with a chocolate egg, typically in the shape of a lamb, rabbit or egg. Children frequently take a figolla to church to be blessed by the priest. Also keep an eye out for honey rings and kwareżimal, a traditional Lenten sweet.

These will be just a few highlights from your Holy Week and Easter holidays in Malta. Book flights to Malta now and experience this special time on the Maltese Islands firsthand. Get your cameras ready to capture the true essence of tradition! 

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