Like many celebrations in Malta, food and drink play an important role at Carnival so make sure to try the traditional carnival treat, Prinjolata – a cream, chocolate and cherry-topped sponge cake, aptly described as a sweet mound of mess – to ingrain yourself a little more in the spirit of things!
Another tradition at Carnival is a public display of the traditional Parata dance. Mainly showcased by children in modern times, the Parata recollects the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 and the struggle between the Knights of St. John and the Muslim Turks, re-enacted in the form of a light-hearted buoyant dance. The show has been a routine feature of the Malta Carnival for centuries, with prizes awarded for the best artistic dances.
Senglea is a small, fortified city on a peninsular parallel to Vittoriosa. A pedestrian bridge connects it to its larger neighbour and two grand forts – Fort St Michael and Fort St Angelo – stand guard either side of the city. Unlike the other Three Cities of Malta, Senglea escaped from the Great Siege relatively unscathed, thanks to protection from the forts. The city was renamed from L’Isla (meaning ‘the island’) to Senglea, after the man who fortified it in 1551, Grand Master Claude de la Senglea. It’s also commonly known as Citta’ Invicta (the invincible city). However, Senglea’s luck unfortunately ran out during WWII, when a staggering 75% of its buildings were damaged. In the years since, many key sites (such as the Our Lady of Victories Parish Church) have been restored to their former glory.