What’s on this Christmas in Malta
It may be mild in comparison to ‘up North’ but in Malta, by evening, temps start to chill with all the rain we’ve had since the start of December; we’re now lighting fires (or turning on those portable gas heaters!), cracking open a bottle, and filling houses with the aroma of mulled wine and making merry. Our winter traditions mirror the British, with a touch of the Italian – the Christmas tree, turkey, and trimmings and trappings are as visible in Malta as in any northern climate though we add Italian panettoni and liquors. With Malta so international these days, anything goes. I’ve noticed fewer climbing santas this year and most street decorations have only just arrived (weather probably the cause of their delay). So perhaps that particular ‘tradition’ is on the wane.
It’s time however to start thinking of entertaining in and entertainment out. Here again, Malta does us proud at Christmas time. See our What’s On listings for more than enough to keep you and yours busy, but here’s a resume’ of what’s in store…and if you’re an event organiser, please do list your event here using our quick, online form.
There’s a host of traditions and regular events this time of year; we highlight some of the main ones and most tempting.
Some Highlights & Regular Christmas & New Year’s Events
13th & 15th December: New Choral Singers ‘Musical Tidings’ in the impressive St Publius Parish Church in Floriana on 13th and a second performance on Sunday 15th December at St John of the Cross Parish Church, Ta’ Xbiex. Both performances begin at 7.30pm.
20th December: the spectacular, heart-lifting candle-lit setting of St John’s Co-Cathedral (with one concert on Friday, 20th Dec). Do check the site though nearer the time as details are not yet up.
Not to forget Mdina’s Cathedral. With 364 churches, you won’t have far to travel from dining table to evening song, midnight mass or a carol concert – they’ll be right on your doorstep. If you miss the official carols and masses, you’ll find plenty of Christmas Music held in churches around Malta; see our Music Listings here.
One special addition this year are the teatime concerts in the Carmelite Priory, Mdina, starting on Sunday 15th December, 16.30. This series of Sunday concerts extends into 2014 and is aid of the church’s restoration (entrance free, donations welcome). The concert of 15th is ‘Medieval to Baroque Christmas’ music. Palazzo de Piro, Mdina, has a series of lunchtime carols every Sunday in December at 12.00. If you’re in Gozo, don’t miss the Leone Christmas Concert at Teatru Aurora, 28th December, which is as big a bash as it gets.
All festive season long, Valletta has a host of open-air, public events running. Shopping centres like Bay Street, St Julian’s – with its ice rink; The Point at Tigne’ – with Santa’s Workshop and Christmas ‘village’ in the pjazza; and the Valletta Waterfront all have special events so check their websites. Further away, in the regions, we find parallel events such as Christmas in Mellieha.
Christmas is also Panto season, and this year, we get a full-on, not-to-miss MADC panto at the MFCC tent. Ta’ Qali, which this year is ‘Rapunzelstiltskin‘. Meanwhile, there’s an equally extravagant twist on ‘Little Red Riding Hood – and you know who‘ devised by the Masquerade theatre school and running at the Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Both productions run into the first week of January. Be quick if you want tickets though as panto sells well here.
Do the crib trail at the various exhibitions – try the Auberge d’Italie, Valletta. See also the ‘Crib at the Priory‘, Dominican Priory, Rabat and also the now annual extravaganza of the Bethlehem of Ghajnsielem, Gozo; an outdoor Nativity Village, with all sorts of demonstrations of local crafts, not just the crib, showing a glimpse into times past – perhaps Gozitan and Maltese if not those of Bethlehem. Great one for kids though.
Music aplenty, from classical and choirs to clubbing, so browse the list and take your pick. We’ve New Year’s Eve listings on our Events pages too so browse those organised by private clubs and DJs as well as public entities. Valletta and Floriana are hosting the National Celebration on NYE open air.
Photos in page: Courtesy of Corey Amaro, an online friend.
Featured photo on homepage: Shopper in Merchant Street, 2012 by Leslie Vella.