This year, Easter Sunday falls on 9th April 2023, and Good Friday (7th April), both are public holidays in Malta. Over 95% of the Maltese identify as Catholics. So, celebrate Easter weekend with gutso devotion, tradition and fanfare. If you were in any doubt (with over 350 churches peppered across the Maltese Islands). Malta will soon kick off a spectacular Holy Week and Easter celebration. As we head into early Spring, day temperatures reach a pleasant 20°C. Now is a good time to visit Malta. There are lots of things to do, and the days are longer and brighter. You can get out to see a variety of Easter festivities. When did you last see life-sized exhibitions depicting the Last Supper? How about colourful open-air processions or euphoric marches? Well, you have that to look forward to and more!
Easter weekend starts with a sombre retelling of the most important Christian event…before building up to The Risen Christ and culminating with jubilant scenes. If you’re looking to do something a little special this Easter and specifically in Malta, then do read on…
Things to do on Maundy Thursday in Malta
Start Easter weekend by heading out on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday). Visit the enthusiastic exhibitions re-enacting The Final Supper. These are crafted by volunteers and are well worth a visit. You’ll discover these exhibitions in many churches and squares across Malta and Gozo.
Join in with the traditional Seven Visits. This involves visiting The Altars of Repose in seven different churches. It’s an excellent opportunity to make a night of it and visit Malta’s beautiful churches. The most notable places to visit are Rabat, Mdina and Valletta. Oh, and so you know, there are eight churches/chapels in Mdina 😉
Eat Qaghaq tal-Appostoli
Try Qaghaq tal-Appostoli – a bread made with honey and almonds. Qaghaq tal-Appostoli is traditionally eaten after the Seven Visits on Maundy Thursday. But, still, give it a try, I mean if you don’t complete the seven visit. You can buy these in local village Squares near the parades.
Another traditional food to try is krarezimal. This is a sweet, nutty local biscuit traditionally eaten during lent. Think like how the tradition of Pancake Day came about. You do know the story, right? During lent, people give up sugar and sweets, or rather, devout Christians do. So, kwarezimal is the lent-proof substitute biscuit. Anyways, never mind all that; give it a try.
For something outdoorsy, how about joining a pilgrimage taking you through the countryside? Starting from Girgenti Square in Siggiewi, you can join a procession. The candlelit walk is symbolic of the walk of the cross and takes you up to Laferla Cross.
Things to do on Good Friday in Malta
Good Friday draws in the solemn open-air re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ. You’ll catch such processions in their hundreds taking place in many villages. Communities across Malta and Gozo commemorate the Passion of the Christ in processional marches… complete with Roman soldiers, large statues and biblical characters. This event is a spectacular show, flooded with colour, parades and religious fervour. The most dramatic is a reconstruction featuring floats and horses. Long robes too. (Nope, not on the horse).
Good Friday Processions
The best thing to do on Good Friday is to join a procession. You can catch one from all over the island. Żebbuġ, Mosta, Birgu (Vittoriosa), Isla (Senglea), Bormla (Cospicua), Luqa, Naxxar, Paola, Qormi (San Ġorġ parish), Rabat, Valletta and Żejtun to name but a few.
It is hard to choose (and has been the source of much debate), but the best ones to visit are in Mosta Qormi and Żebbuġ in Malta. Xaghra is the best to see if you’re in Gozo. Even if you’re a non-believer, don’t worry. The processions will tell you the story in an unforgettable fashion. Easter in Malta is a good time to visit for the cultural experience.
Things to do on Holy Saturday in Malta
Holy Saturday continues with a sombre vibe. In the early evening, people flock to the church squares with unlit candles to mark The Rising of Christ. Throughout the night, churches in Malta start out in complete darkness. Candles are lit one by one until light fills the entire church.
Hang out in the Village Square
The best thing to do on Holy Saturday is: to hang out in the village Square. Village Squares are like the heart and soul of the community anyways. So spend some time here, and you will see (and take part) in a Rising of Christ celebration. Make sure you bring a jumper with you. It can get down to a nippy 10°C at this time of year in Malta. Still, nothing a rousing version of the hymn Glorja can’t fix, right?
Things to do on Easter Sunday in Malta
Come Easter Sunday, the mood of the Islands switches from one of mournful contemplation to one of joy. Get ready to celebrate! Church doors are swung open, bells rung, and band clubs take to the streets to rejoice in the occasion. Communities celebrate, and you will see (several) statues of The Risen Christ coursing through the streets.
Easter Sunday Processions
Catch the Easter Processions in The Three Cities; the best one is in Vittoriosa( Birgu). Groups of men run through the streets with, The Risen Christ whilst people throw confetti.
Attend an Easter Sunday Mass Service
Attend a special Easter Sunday Mass at one of Malta’s churches. You’re spoilt for choice. St John Co-Cathedral in Valletta is worthy of a visit. Most of the services are in Maltese. But, even if you don’t understand, it’s still a pretty awesome event to see and experience.
Grab an Easter Sunday Roast
After heading to mass and/or watching the festivities, it’s time to eat! Do what most Maltese families do on Easter Sunday… treat yourself to a gorgeous traditional roast. Visit Nora’s Lounge Diner , Rusty Spoon, and Fiddler’s Green Pub. They all serve pub(ish) roasts with all the trimmings.
Figolli is a traditional Easter sweet and is Malta’s answer to Easter eggs (even though these are eaten too). Sweet and almond rich, these are handed out on Easter Sunday as treats by nannas and nannu’s. For everyone else, you can buy them from bakeries and tea shops around Malta and Gozo. Overindulge in as many as you like. After all, isn’t this one of the best things to do during Easter? So go on, treat yourself to an eggcellent Figolli or three!