From the blog

Carnival, A 600-year Maltese Tradition

The Maltese people celebrate Carnival for 5 days leading up to Lent.  It is a time for silliness, dressing up, and colorful floats.  Adults and children fill the streets wearing masks and brightly colored costumes to celebrate this annual event.

Daytime parade
Parade winding through streets

The tradition has references dating back 6 centuries. It became more popular in the 1500s by the Knights of St. John.  Locals and visitors alike come to celebrate Carnival. This colorful winter tradition with five full days of programming includes parades and dance competitions that lead up to the grand finale parade.  My mother, to this day, enjoys her memories of Carnival as a child.

Children riding on float for Canivale
Maltese children riding on a traditional float

The name Carnival comes from the Italian language “Carne Vale,” which means “meat is allowed.” A fitting name for the event leading up to Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.

Maltese people celebrate carnival in towns across the Island. The main events are in Valletta, with the finale parade in neighboring Floriana on the main Island.  In Gozo, Nadur hosts popular programming as well as Victoria.

Festive float with lights
Maltese people celebrate Carnival

Paceville, the place for nightlife, is alive with bars filling up with costumed participants continuing their celebration.

2020 February 21-25
2021 February 12-16

Learn More

Easter Traditions 
Festivals In Malta

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