Christmas in Malta

Join in these Christmas traditions in Malta!

 

Christmas time in Malta is a highly celebrated festivity, not only due to its religious significance but also for its social importance. The festive season is celebrated all across Malta and Gozo, and everybody loves to join in the events that take place throughout the islands. In Malta, Christmas is known as ‘Il-Milied’ and it is celebrated on December 25th. The preparations begin long before the date, however.

 

There are a number of Christmas traditions that the Maltese carry out every year, which you can experience if you’re staying in Malta in December!

 

The Traditional Maltese Nativity Crib

By far one of the most common practices that dominates the Christmas season is the tradition of the ‘Presepju’, or Nativity Cribs. Many individuals build their own cribs, either as a hobby to decorate their own homes or as a more professional skill in order to display them in exhibitions. The cribs depict the nativity scene and often show typical Maltese landscapes. They are decorated with figurines, called ‘pasturi’, which represent religious figures and animals surrounded by lights and plants. This tradition can be traced back to 1617, when the first true Maltese crib was produced and displayed at the Dominican Friars Church in Rabat. Nowadays, the Maltese crib is an integral part of Christmas Eve procession in Malta, which was first organised in 1921. There are also exhibitions of ‘Presepji’ located around different parts of the island.

Christmas Crib

Christmas Trees

Maltese households join in the global tradition of setting up a Christmas Tree inside their homes, decorated with baubles, lights and tinsel! Moreover, family homes are decorated with wreaths, candles and stockings, to get in the festive spirit.

Christmas Tree

Gulbiena

Inside private homes, you will also find nativity cribs and statues of a baby Jesus taking pride of place. These are usually surrounded by long, white, grass-like plants, which resemble angels’ hair – ‘Gulbiena’. These seeds are sown on damp cotton buds and left to sprout in complete darkness around 5 weeks before Christmas, resulting in the colourless plant shoots used to decorate the crib.

 

Midnight Mass

A common tradition in Malta is the Christmas Eve procession followed by Midnight Mass service. Since the majority of Malta’s population are Catholics, the procession and Mass are attended by many locals. During the mass, carols are sung and the story of the nativity is re-told by a young child, instead of a priest.

Christmas Midnight Mass

Family & Food

It wouldn’t be right to mention Christmas traditions without speaking about family. Maltese families are traditionally large and close-knit, so Christmas is a time when the whole family can come together to celebrate and share a meal. Following true British tradition, the highlight of the Christmas family lunch is the ‘Dundjan’ (roast turkey) and the ‘Pudina tal-Milied’ (Christmas pudding).

Christmas Roast Turkey

If you’re in Malta during Christmas, you can find lots of restaurants and bars organising Christmas meals, as well as plenty of activities taking place across the island.

 

Book your stay at AX Seashells Resort at Suncrest and spend Christmas with us!

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