We believe that Christmas in Malta is magical, fun, loveable, and exciting in the cold weather that Malta and its locals are not used to. The first reason why Christmas in Malta is very special is because Maltese as a community are very religious and so they consider this special time of the year as very important due to their religious beliefs. From a social aspect, Christmas is also very popular in Malta. Among the young generation this time of the year means a lot of nightlife and parties, while for the rest of the community Christmas will mean family time.
The season is celebrated to its fullest on the Maltese Islands, with the active participation of many displays of cribs (there is a very popular one in Gozo), carol services and other events which are organised in each locality (for example the Christmas celebrations in Ħaż-Żebbuġ).
Malta Christmas Mass
You can notice Christmas decorations in Malta from the end of November. Decorations will take place in round about’s, streets, popular cities and villages such as Valletta, Mosta, Sliema, Mgarr and also St. Julians. For a very special, spiritual evening, join the congregation at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta for candlelit carol singing. Other Baroque parish churches across the Islands are just as awe-inspiring during advent. You can also visit one of the villages and attend the midnight mass, known in Malta as the ‘Quddies ta’ nofs il-Lejl’. During this mass there will be the popular speech by a young boy or girl known in Maltese as ‘il-Priedka tal-Milied’ (Christmas preach) or else ‘il-Priedka tat-tifel’ (the preaching of the child). This is tradition that began in the 19th century, exactly in 1883 by a young child named George Sapiano in the church of Ħal Luqa. Historically, the child used to start with latin language, with a sentence that meant, “I am going to give you a massive news”. This speech requires a lot of studying as the it is normally quite long. Normally the boy is given a present from the Parish priest after the child finishes the speech. Before it was just boys that were asked to do the preaching, however now most parishes allow girls to take part in this role.
Malta Christmas Holidays
If you are visiting Malta for your Christmas holidays, then you have no problem finding a nice hotel for a special lunch or dinner. There are various restaurants that offer classic dishes for Christmas, while other restaurants (especially Maltese restaurants) that offer traditional Maltese food.
Traditional Christmas Food
Christmas in Malta is also special when it comes to food. Traditionally Christmas was a very small celebration when it comes to food, as it was mainly a religious feast. However with influences that came from several rulers, especially the British empire, Christmas grew into a larger celebration. Today, Maltese families normally meet up and organise a Christmas family lunch. Some of the food will include timpana, turkey and also ‘imbuljuta tal-‘Qastan’. Imbuljuta is the a traditional Maltese drink served after Midnight Mass on Christmas. It is the perfect recipe for those special nights where you want something hot, spicy and deliciously seasonal. Some of its ingredients includes cloves, cinnamon, chocolate, orange and tangerine rinds. Generally the ‘imbuljuta’ it is served in mugs or small bowls and always piping hot. If you cannot make it to Malta this Christmas but still want to feel part of the Island, you can try this recipe from the comfort of your house! Kindly find the recipe below:
- 400g dried chestnuts
- 175g sugar
- 50g drinking chocolate
- 50g dark chocolate chopped in large pieces
- Grated rind of 1 orange
- Ground cloves
- Mixed spice
- 1 tangerine peel finely chopped
Wash chestnuts a couple of times always changing the water after every wash. Place the chestnuts in a large bowl, cover with water again and allow them to soak overnight. The next day first take off any remaining peel then put all the chestnuts and the water into a large saucepan. Add all the other ingredients. Put on a moderate heat till it starts boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 50 minutes or until the chestnuts are tender. If necessary add some boiling water. The last and most important step is to enjoy this delicious traditional Maltese dessert!
Cribs in Malta and Gozo
Cribs can be found literally everywhere, from cities to small villages. However the most famous crib, which is also an alive one, is that one of Gozo. Here you will be able to walk in a small town which changes into Betlehem for the Christmas period. There will be real humans and real animals in this huge crib. This crib will be in Ghajnsielem, which is a 5 minutes walk from Mgarr Gozo, where the ferry stops.
Visiting cribs is a popular activity at Christmas time and many locals spend time going round touring the various ‘presepju’ displays. Preparations for the seventh edition of Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem are well under way with work taking place both on site at Ta’ Passi fields and behind the scenes with several promotional campaigns and the publishing of informational material.
Latest updates can be followed of this event can be found on facebook.com/bethlehem.f.ghajnsielem or website www.ghajnsielem.com/bethlehem.
A Christmas highlight, which is popular for children and adults alike, is the annual pantomime held at the Manoel Theatre. It’s a happy mix of good slapstick humour for children and satire for adults.
Restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs all have their own entertainment, making for an abundant choice of what to do and see. Obviously, your Christmas holiday will not be complete without some shopping, and when it comes to shopping, Malta will not disappoint! Hopefully, beside learning where is Malta, we also encouraged you to visit Malta for the Christmas period!
Happy Christmas in different Languages
And last but not least, we wish you all a very Happy Christmas. We created an infographic to wish you all the best for this Christmas. The first one is obviously in Maltese, ‘Il-Milied it-tajjeb’, then we also added other languages; apologies if we didn’t add your language but the space is kind of limited!
Birzebbuga Christmas Tree
Oh… and by the way. If you want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Malta, you should visit the lovely town of Birzebbuga. The erected tree in Birzebbuga square is seven stories high!