Discover beloved holiday traditions

Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean is the small but fascinating island of Malta. It is a hidden gem for travelers seeking a unique holiday vacation experience. Known for its rich history, the island is expert at celebrating religious traditions. In this article, take a journey through both traditional and new celebrations that make Christmas in Malta so special.  

An ancient tradition  

Malta has a deeply rooted religious tradition and with a 98% Roman Catholic population, it is one of the most Catholic countries in the world. As such, Christmas remains one of the most important religious holidays on the island. When you walk through the streets during the holidays, you are completely immersed in the Christmas atmosphere. For example, various Christmas songs are played through speakers on the streets, and you can enjoy breathtaking Christmas decorations. An important part of the Maltese Christmas tradition is the nativity scene or Presepju. Consequently, Maltese households often have a nativity scene displaying the birth of Jesus along with figurines of villagers and animals. 

Tip: Fancy seeing a real-life nativity scene? Then make sure to visit the village of Ghajnsielem on the neighboring island of Gozo for a traditional Christmas spectacle! This town is transformed into Bethlehem. You can see a live nativity scene in an ancient cave as well as a stable with an ox and a donkey. Not to be missed!  

Embracing Diversity 

In addition to preserving local winter traditions, new approaches to Christmas and other religious celebrations have emerged in recent years in this Catholic country. Indeed, Malta is becoming increasingly diverse, thanks to residents from different cultural backgrounds. This shift can be seen in the rise of various Christmas markets, fairs and cultural events that cater to all community members, regardless of religious affiliation.  

As Malta becomes increasingly diverse and inclusive, the island has seen a variety of winter events and festivities appear that cater to different cultural backgrounds. The Malta International Christmas Festival, for example, is a vibrant celebration featuring multicultural performances, art exhibitions and a wide range of seasonal food and drinks. This event shows that Malta is open to embracing and appreciating different customs and traditions from around the world. 

Malta’s approach to Christmas and other religious celebrations has evolved to reflect the island’s growing diversity and inclusiveness. The preservation of local winter traditions, along with the introduction of new events and festivals, has transformed Malta into a vibrant and multicultural winter destination where people of all backgrounds can come together to celebrate and share the joy of the season. 

Christmas street decorations. ©Mr Wang Yanjun
Christmas street decorations. ©Mr Wang Yanjun

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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