Culture
These creative Gozitan gals are all the inspo you need to stand out at Nadur’s carnival
Holding back is not part of their plan

Caroline Curmi

Dressing up for carnival is an unbreakable tradition for families living in Nadur. Home to the biggest (and wildest) carnival celebrations on the Maltese islands, this Gozitan village’s quiet streets transform into a spontaneous street festival for five days every year.

For Nadur locals Amy Borg, Antoinette Portelli and Yanica Camilleri, creating costumes for carnival is not just a matter of continuing a tradition they have been born into, but also a creative and bonding experience. As it often happens, adult commitments make it difficult for friends to meet, but carnival is a special exception: “we love it so much, we know we can’t miss it,” they say.

Their intriguing carnival experiments kicked off 15 years ago when they were just 11 years old: “Back then, our costume ideas weren’t as original as they are today, but it led us to where we are now,” says Yanica. The group had different members over the years and eventually saw the addition of Jodie Farrugia, Josefa Ciantar and Amanda Camilleri, also Nadur locals.

Popular for their innovative and funky costume ideas, the young women are known for their original interpretations of simple concepts: “standing out takes an idea that is original and not something that you know the majority will be wearing,” the group explains. There are no rules at the Nadur carnival, but the group make sure that their costumes "do not offend anyone."

Preparations usually start immediately after Christmas: “We form groups on social media, so that anyone that comes across a good idea can forward it,” says Yanica, adding that due to the relatively short time frame between the two major holidays, they try and have their ideas finalised by mid-January. 

The group shortlists four different costumes to be worn on separate days, with the one requiring most preparation usually scheduled to be exhibited on Friday evening. While the women usually create or adjust costumes themselves, they reveal that there is always that one idea that requires the help of a professional seamstress.

With the group’s portfolio spanning over 15 editions of the Nadur carnival, choosing a favourite does not come easy. “Usually we pick a favourite out of the four we wear this year,” Yanica laughs, before settling on the bees theme as the one closest to her heart. Each group member has a different favourite: for Antoinette it’s the ice-cream truck, for Amy it’s puppets on a string, for Jodie it’s the group’s take on the ‘dark queens’ theme while Josefa’s favourite is Forest Creatures.

And what do they have in store for this year’s carnival? “All we can say about this year’s theme is that while it has been worn before, it includes a special twist that talks about current global warming affairs,” the group reveals. While no more details are forthcoming, there is one thing we’re sure of – it’s going to be a great one!

 Which look is your favourite?

21st January 2020


Caroline Curmi
Written by
Caroline Curmi
When she’s not having a quarter-life crisis, Caroline is either drawing in a café, frittering her salary on sushi or swearing at traffic in full-on Gozitan. There is also the occasional daytime drink somewhere in the equation. Or two. A creative must be allowed at least one vice.

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