Try saying it in Maltese: ‘Il-Milied it-Tajjeb’. That means Happy Christmas. Indeed Christmas is popular on the islands and is properly celebrated. The streets are decorated in lights and most locals decorate their house facades in beautiful lights. The days before Christmas are filled up with activities including musicals, choirs, displays on cribs and nativity scenes. Quite notable are two life-size cribs in Hal-lija, Malta and Ghajnsielem, Gozo. Many local participants and animals take part in these crib exhibitions to re-create various Bethlehem scenes.
Even though one cannot experience a white Christmas in Malta or Gozo as it never snows, there is still a lot going on during this time of the year. One can breathe a nice Christmas atmosphere on the islands as the festive season is celebrated by everyone. Valletta and Sliema are the busiest cities in the days leading to Christmas as the major shopping neighbourhoods are located there. Shops and streets will be decorated and it might be possible to catch Santa in the streets!
On Christmas Eve, during the day shopping streets will be bustling with atmosphere as it is the last day for people to do their christmas shopping. Valletta, Sliema and Victoria in Gozo will be particularly busy. Cafeterias, bars and restaurants will be busy and there will be a festive atmosphere around.
Many hotels and restaurants organise early Christmas breakfasts straight after the midnight mass. It is suggested to book early for both breakfast and lunch on Christmas day.
Christmas on the islands is less commercialized compared to many other European countries. One will find a large display of cribs and pageants in several villages and towns. The midnight mass is celebrated in every church in every village and is traditionally addressed by very young boys of less than 10 years who spend lots of time learning their part.
On Christmas day, gifts are placed under the Christmas tree. Kids wake up with enthusiasm to open the presents that Santa Claus left for them during the night. Christmas Day is quieter as it is considered family time and all the families reunite together for a lavish Christmas lunch including a traditional Christmas pudding.
Various indoor parties, events and outdoor celebrations throughout various cities are held in New Years Eve. There are various firework displays at midnight. Bars and clubs will be packed and everywhere will be buzzing with a great atmosphere.
Not to miss!
Will you be on Malta around Christmas and New Years? Then don’t miss out one of the Pantomimes held annually around this time. The most popular ones are held at the Manoel’s Theatre and at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre in Ta’ Qali. The theme changes each year but each pantomime always promises extravagant costumes, music, colourful scenes, funny script and lots of humour. The Panto is always narrated in English. Early booking is recommended.