Easter is a primarily religious feast, and one of Malta’s most important, so with 365 churches to go around, it is no wonder that there is something happening in every town and village across the islands! Corinthia Palace enjoys an excellent location at the heart of the historical Three Villages, which exude old-world charm in the alleyways that wind around the Baroque-style parish churches.
Explore the churches
While Maltese churches are always worth a visit, they are an absolute focal point during Holy Week, which starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. The grand display of the Altars of Repose, the overpowering incense that fills the air, the walls draped in mournful black and purple, and the Gregorian chanting in the background truly capture the imagination as they stir all the senses and seem to transport you to another world and time in history. This even spills out onto the surrounding streets, which are typically decked out in religious pavilions, with crosses and holy imagery hung on several private residences as well.
Visit local exhibitions
The Last Supper displays seen throughout each town and set up by independent enthusiasts are also not to be missed. Admire the elaborate handiwork of religious artworks in salt and rice, and the life-size or scale-model representations of the Last Supper – sometimes accompanied by a presentation that sets the scene and takes you back to biblical times.
Join a pilgrimage
A popular local tradition to really get you into the Maltese Easter spirit is that of the Seven Churches Visitation. On Holy Thursday, the faithful spend an evening of prayerful meditation as they walk from one church to another, stopping at each to recite prayers at the Altars of Repose.
The medieval fortified city of Mdina and the adjacent town of Rabat – both a 15-minute drive from the hotel – are an excellent spot for this, with several churches located close to each other, from the small and intimate chapels to the grand St Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina.
Alternatively, for a hint of adventure, experience the Maltese countryside by night and join the pilgrimage that starts in Siggiewi – again just 15 minutes away by car. Follow the candle-lit trail up the steep hill to the imposing Laferla Cross, which is symbolic of the Way of the Cross.
Follow a procession
Visiting one of the many processions that take place on Good Friday is a must, preferably in Rabat where the first procession was organised by Franciscan friars in the 16th Century. This is a sombre but impressive display of antique life-size statues representing the Passion of Christ, which are paraded through the village streets, reminiscent of a funeral march with live music played by local band club members. Participants dressed as biblical characters also join in the procession.
Time for lunch
The solemnity comes to a palpable end on Easter Sunday with the joyous ringing of church bells. Several processions with the statue of the Risen Christ are held in different towns throughout the day, but one of the day’s highlights is, undoubtedly, lunch with family and friends, followed by a slice of figolla – a traditional almond-filled pastry prepared only at Easter.
Enjoy the fireworks
This year, Easter will also kickstart the 21st edition of the Malta International Fireworks Festival, which will run from Sunday 17 – Saturday 30 April. This is a highly popular annual event showcasing local firework talent where displays are synchronised with music. The event will take place in a number of localities, including the Granaries in Floriana and the Grand Harbour in the neighbouring capital of Valletta (both 15 minutes away from the hotel by car), on Saturday 30 April.
It will certainly be a colourful way to end the Easter celebrations with a bang!
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