There’s so much to do and see during the highly celebrated annual Carnival Week in Malta! Here’s a line-up of what to expect.
viewingmalta.comThink pure merriment: marching bands, colourful parades of allegorical floats presided over by 'King Carnival', masked balls, lavish fancy dress, grotesque mask and dance competitions, late-night parties, and of course, scores of costumed revellers. February brings on the highly anticipated Carnival Week, which is always held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. The name carnival originates from the Italian phrase ‘carne vale’, which literally means ‘meat is allowed’, due to the fact that during the 40 days of Lent, meat consumption is traditionally not permitted in the Roman Catholic religion. Hence, carnival is celebrated before the austerity of Lent!
Extravagantly coloured floats will be perched on lorries ready to parade along the streets, as well as young dancers and band members who have practiced for months to get this special celebration just right. It's the time of year when you'll catch sight of children running around in fancy costumes and grown children frequenting the night clubs and bars in their outrageous outfits.
Though various towns and villages across the Maltese Islands have their own version of festivities, the heart of the action takes place in Valletta and Floriana.
Gozo has its own floats and parades of course, with the main activities taking place in It-Tokk, the main square in Gozo’s capital Victoria, and in Nadur square. For a different, more macabre mood, the carnival in Nadur is notable for its darker and more risqué themes including cross-dressing, ghost costumes, political figures and revellers dressed up as scantily clad clergyfolk (oh my!)
As always on the Maltese Islands, food plays its part: loads of perlini (multi-coloured, sugar-coated almonds) are about, as well as the prinjolata, which is a towering assembly of sponge cake, biscuits, almonds and citrus fruits, topped with cream and pine nuts.
Carnival week is definitely for those who never want the party to end. Let your hair down and go with the flow - become part of the festivities and celebrate like a local! Here's what to expect over the next few days of Carnival Week 2018.
Today, Thursday 8th February, 2018 - 6pm
The official opening ceremony for Malta Carnival 2018 will commence, with activities taking place at St George’s Square in Valletta, which will also include dancing competitions. (St George’s Square seated tickets are on sale for €5 each.)
Friday 9th February, 2018 - 6pm
Dancing competitions will be held at St George’s Square, as well as a défilé consisting of the King Carnival float, and Section A Company’s Floats. The défilé will proceed via the Granaries all throughout Valletta and Floriana. (St George’s Square seated tickets are on sale for €5 each.)
Saturday 10th February, 2018 - 9:30am
The Children’s Carnival will take place at St George’s Square, while the Valletta défilé will proceed throughout Valletta and Floriana. (St George’s Square seated tickets are on sale for €5 each during this time.) Various activities will be held in Valletta throughout the day, inclusive of the Qarcilla representation in St John’s Square. (St George’s Square seated tickets are on sale for €10 each.)
From 5pm onwards, a dancing competition will take place at St George’s Square in Valletta, together with the Gran Défilé performance.
In the evening, the 1st Malta Carnival Tritons Carnival Night will take place, which is a Gran Carnival Spectacle and Carnival Ball at Tritons Fountain Area, Valletta. Top local artists and deejays will be entertaining the crowd and a carnival parade will procceed throughout the Valletta streets, leading up to the Granaries in Floriana.
Sunday 11th February, 2018 - 10am
A Carnival Band Parade will take place on High Street, Hamrun, which will include the participation of local bands, including the participation of the main Hamrun band clubs.
At 12:30pm, a carnival floats parade will take place at Castille Place in Valletta, while a défilé will proceed throughout Valletta and Floriana.
In the afternoon, a special Carnival Gran Show will take place at St George’s Square in Valletta. St George’s Square seated tickets are on sale for €12 each.
Monday 12th February, 2018 - 10am
A dancing schools’ carnival parade and dancing show will take place at St George’s Square in Valletta, including the participation of the main Carnival Gozitan Dancing Companies.
A dancing competition programme will be followed by the Gran Défilé at St George’s Square in Valletta, which will proceed all throughout Valletta and Floriana. St George’s Square seated tickets are on sale for €7 each.
Tuesday 13th February, 2018 - 10am
A dancing schools’ carnival parade and dancing show will take place at Royal Opera House Square in Valletta, with the participation of special guests from China.
A Gran Finale will take place on St Anne’s Street in Valletta with the participation of carnival bands, floats and general merriment, inclusive of a street parade in Valletta starting from the Tritons Fountain and going on to Republic Street to Castille Place and Glormu Cassar Avenue, and then joining the Gran Défilé on St Anne Street, Floriana.
St George’s Square seating tickets can be purchased on-line at ticketline.com.mt.