Ready to let your hair down and join in the spectacular Maltese Carnival?

February 08, 2016

Carnival in Malta dates back to the 15th century when the Maltese lived under the rule of  restrictive Grand Masters. These Grand Masters gave the people very little freedom, however, they gave permission for the somewhat wild festivities to be held before Lent started. This was a time when people could free themselves from their day-to-day life and huge celebrations were traditionally held in Malta’s capital city of Valletta and its neighbouring village, Floriana. Recently, however, the spontaneous carnival held in Nadur, Gozo has taken the limelight.

The preparation for the Valletta carnival parade begins months in advance with teams of people building elaborate and colourful floats often with a hint of political satire. Children dress up in sparkly, colourful costumes, and dance in the streets. In Gozo, flocks of adults gather in funny, weird and sometimes risqué costumes and party far into the night.

Everyone is welcome to join in these celebrations, which are based around dancing, vibrant costumes, band marches, and of course, food! A local favourite is the ‘Prinjolata’ – a sweet, almond sponge cake topped with frosting, fruits and chocolate. Another popular treat (my personal favourite) is ‘perlini’ – sugar-coated almonds in different colours.

Glossary

  • Take the limelight: get more attention
  • Carnival floats: vehicles with colourful paper-mache shapes on it
  • Satire: use of humour to make fun of people, especially politicians
  • Risqué: naughty or rude
  • Elaborate: decorative, complicated
  • Vibrant: exciting