Christmas in Malta - Christmas Around the World
Christmas Around the World - Malta Christmas Traditions
Christmas in Malta and neighboring island, Gozo, is an important religious holiday. It is called 'II-Milied'. The majority of inhabitants of Malta and Gozo are Roman Catholics. On Christmas eve, most people attend Midnight Mass.
During this special Midnight Mass, a child is chosen for "Priedka tat-Tifel", which means preaching of the child. This lucky child delivers the sermon during the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. They tell the story of Jesus and Bethlehem, and also add their own personal message.
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Maltese Christmas Traditions - Malta Nativity Cribs
One of the oldest Malta Christmas traditions is Malta crib displays.
These Maltese cribs were first displayed in Malta by monks. At first,
the Maltese didn't accept the tradition. But today, Catholic churches in
Malta display a nativity crib built by members of the church.
The Maltese crib is called 'Presepju'. It is surrounded and adorned with figures representing angels, animals, and shepherds, called 'pasturi'. The Maltese Christmas cribs are surrounded by a setting with lights, plants, and buildings. Often flour windmills are present in the nativity scene. Many houses also display the pasturi and baby Jesus.
At midnight during mass on Christmas eve, a figure representing the baby Jesus is placed into the Maltese nativity crib. The three Magi are placed in the Maltese cribs during Epiphany. One crib dating back to the 1600s is still displayed every Christmas in Malta.
Traditional Malta Christmas Traditions - Malta Christmas Decorations and Maltese Christmas Food
Another of the oldest Christmas traditions in Malta is a Christmas eve
procession. It was started in the early 1900s by a priest to keep the
spirit of Christmas alive on the island. The Christmas parade always
begins with a full size baby Jesus figure being carried along. The
procession route is lit by many lights called festunis all along the way
so that everyone can clearly see the baby Jesus.
Wreaths and Christmas trees are common Malta Christmas decorations, just like in other areas of the world. Many houses also put Christmas candles in their windows and light up their houses at night with lights during Christmas. Santa Claus also visits the children, and is a popular Maltese Christmas tradition.
Popular Malta Christmas food items are turkey, puddings, mincemeat pies, ring cakes made with honey, and Italian fruit bread.