Malta is a southern European country in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily and north of Libya. Malta is one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries.
The capital of this country is Valletta and the largest city is Birkirkara. There are two official languages, Maltese and English.
Christmas Celebrations in Malta :
In Malta, Christmas is a very special holiday. As you would expect, the streets are adorned with beautiful Christmas lights and Christmas carols can be heard through-out the islands. The country has rich religious traditions and there are many activities that take place in over three hundred churches across the islands. Christmas is very important to the people of Malta and its sister Island of Gozo. Most people on Malta are Catholics and go to a Midnight Mass Service. Usually the churches are full with people.
Houses in Malta are also decorated with typical twinkling lights and Christmas trees. A Maltese Christmas traditionally is centered on the crib or presepju or pasturi. The child’s version of the church crib is called grolta. Everywhere had at least one crib, varying in size and detail. The crib figures are called pasturi and represent Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shepherds, angels, villagers and animals such as cows, donkeys and sheep. The Cribs are surrounded by lights and plants. Midnight mass on Christmas Eve is the climax of all religious activities. The whole family attends and everyone wears new clothes. The mass begins with choirs singing carols in Maltese.
One Maltese Christmas tradition is the ‘Priedka tat-Tifel’ which means ‘the preaching of the child’. The children learn the sermon by heart and start learning it four or five weeks before they preach on Christmas Eve. The parents are also very excited and nervous about the performance, as they would have helped the children to learn the sermon. The boy or girl tells the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and is encouraged to give their sermon a personal delivery which will touch the hearts of the church-goers.
Schools in Malta often hold a Christmas concert. It consists of Christmas Carols, plays with a Christmas theme, mimes and poetry recitals etc. It is enjoyed by the children and teachers alike. Gifts are exchanged and sometimes money is collected which is then given to charity.
Maltese people have a wide range of food at Christmas. Traditionally, the Maltese house-wife kept the fattest rooster, ‘hasi’, especially for Christmas Lunch, which was roasted at the local bakery in a casserole full of potatoes and vegetables. The traditional desert served at Christmas was the Treacle Ring, ‘Qaghqa tal-Ghasel’, and to finish it off, a hot Chestnut and Cocoa Soup, ‘Imbuljuta tal-Qastan’, which was and is served as a cosy night cap during the cold December days in Malta. Today the traditional Maltese menu has made way for Christmas Turkey, Christmas Cakes, Christmas Puddings and Mince Pies. Italian Panetone has also become a Christmas favourite.
In Maltese Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Il-Milied it-Tajjeb’.
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!