carnival spirit malta

Carnival Spirit In Malta

  • Feb 5, 2018

Malta Carnival 2018 – What, When & Where...

The Carnival spirit in Malta is something epic. In fact, Malta has celebrated Carnival week in February every single year, since the rule of the Knights of St John. February is for this reason a great time to visit Malta for a rich experience of arts, celebration and culture. Valletta is at the heart of all the carnival action where the city streets come to life with colourful processions of dancers in carnival costumes, marching bands and floats. The floats are one of the best parts of the procession; there are many different interpretations of the theme! Some are very theatrical, others more comical. The carnival is normally 4 days long, but this year with Valletta being Europe’s Capital Of Culture 2018, it will be Malta’s biggest and longest spanning over 10 days.

Carnival In Valletta

The carnival opening ceremony kicks off the action in St George’s Square on the evening of Thursday 8th February and the ceremony continues in the square through Friday and Saturday when the children’s carnival programme will start, featuring children from the local schools. The floats and parades travel from the square to Republic Street on Saturday and there is another procession on Monday evening. Tuesday 14thFebrurary is the Gran Finale in Floriana, and it is a sight to behold as the dark evening draws in and the floats painted in neon colours with UV lights parade through the historic streets. Satirically, the prize awarded to the “Best Float” in the procession is a small trophy statue of Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris, a historical figure who was not a fan of carnival and tried to ban women from participating.

The Carnival Ball also takes place on Saturday night in Triton Square, by the city entrance. It’s a late-night street party with carnival bands and DJs, so is guaranteed to get you dancing.

If you’d rather have a more subdued, intellectual experience on Saturday evening, you can enjoy a theatrical production of ‘L-Għarusa Karfusa’ the classic tale of banned love between a fruit and a vegetable in St John’s Square, where there will be purpose built seating. 

Gozo’s Take On Carnival

Gozo also celebrates carnival, but has a more satirical take on it than Valletta. It’s more like the “fringe” of the festivities. In Nadur, there is “The Silent Carnival”. This isn’t run by a committee but is simply a gathering of the public, where anyone can take part. You should join in if you love satire! The sentiment of The Silent Carnival is a little like Halloween; to create comical and grotesque disguises and creep through the streets, holding signs with insults to the public. Gozo does also have an organised version of carnival which takes place in Victoria and is just as impressive as the Valletta parades with floats and fancy dress.

The Ideal Stopover For Carnival Whilst In Malta

Casa Ellul is a great option for stopping over in Valletta for carnival. Our location is very central and within walking distance of Republic Street and St George’s Square. If you choose one of our penthouse suites, you can enjoy rooftop views from your private terrace and maybe see some of the parade from your room. And as locals to the area, we can tell you all of the best carnival events to pop along to and help you plan the rest of your holiday stay, in case you fancy something different!