Celebrating Easter the Maltese way

Easter marks one of the most important festivities in the Christian calendar, and in Malta, locals embrace age-old traditions and customs which are distinct and unique to these isles.

Holy Week officially begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On the evening of Maundy Thursday, churches are stripped of their silver and damask in sign of mourning and thousands of people visit seven churches to pay their respects at the Altar of Repose. The following day - Good Friday - processions are held across differing villages and hamlets across Malta, including in Birgu, which commence at 5:30pm and see numerous life-size statues being carried by pall bearers. The mood is subdued and reflective, as Christians in Malta and across the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

Spirits are lifted on Easter Sunday, as joyful church bells ring and fireworks are heard throughout villages. The feast is known in Maltese as Kristu Rxoxt (the Risen Christ), and following exuberant processions in the streets with the statue of the Risen Christ, families gather to enjoy a rich Easter Sunday lunch, which typically includes lamb and is topped off by traditional figolli almond pastries.