Malta celebrates Easter, more than any other religious event, even greater than Christmas. With street processions, pageants, tableaus, displays, band parades, statue carrying, passion plays, and more. In most churches one can find believers who gather in large numbers to commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Holy Week starts on the Friday preceding Good Friday, when the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is carried in a procession through the streets of one of the many towns and villages on the Maltese Islands.
On Maundy Thursday which is the eve of Good Friday – traditionally the ‘seven visits’ take place, which are the visits to seven different churches, to pay homage to the Altars of Repose.
Good Friday gives a solemn vibe and outlook, as churches lack the traditional decorative style, we usually see. Later on in the afternoon, various towns and villages honor the Passion of Christ with a solemn procession of statues. Each of these statues represents a particular episode in the The Passion of Christ and is carried by bearers. Between a statue and another, participants are dressed as biblical characters who take part in the procession in a dignified manner. In most of the processions, some participants include men bearing a cross and sometimes dragging chains as well tied to their bare feet, as an act of faith or penance.
On Sunday, the vibe and celebrations mood changes drastically, when the ringing of church bells announces the Resurrection of Christ. At about mid-morning, on Easter Sunday, a procession with the statue of the Risen Christ moves along the streets accompanied by band playing celebratory tunes. At the end, the way is cleared and the statue-bearers take a run to carry the Risen Christ triumphantly back into the church.
Easter day is traditionally celebrated with a special family lunch. It is also a time to visit relatives and friends, exchanging good wishes and small presents. Traditionally children are given chocolate-coated easter eggs and a ‘figolla’, almond-filled pastry in the shape of a rabbit, lamb, fish or heart, covered in icing sugar.
Lent, Holy Week & Easter dates for 2017
Wednesday 1st March - Ash Wednesday
Sunday 9th April - Palm Sunday
Thursday 13th April - Holy Thursday
Friday 14th April - Good Friday
Saturday 15th April - Holy Saturday
Sunday 16th April - Easter Sunday
Posted On 05 January 2016