|History || Valetta Carnival ||Food || Gozo Carnival || Nadur Spontaneious Carnival|
Historically, this entertainment in Malta can be traced back to the early 1400s. Encouraged by the Grand Masters of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1530-1798)Despite attempts to put a stop to the increasing anarchy of the festivities, Maltese carnival developed a host of games and events, which became part and parcel of carnival tradition by the 19th century. Challenge Competitions tested the strength and prowess of the young local men, while the nobility adopted a taste for carnival balls - the most renown being held in the splendour of the Manoel Theatre in the old Valletta. The ball seems to have developed later into the popular national dance, the Maltija. Carnival declined in the 19th century but managed to live through the period of British rule (1800-1964) and has thus been handed down in an almost unbroken tradition of about six centuries.
Prizes are awarded for the best artistic dances, costumes, floats and grotesque masks. The Maltese Carnival does not, however, consist only of these floats. Throughout the five days of merrymaking, numerous activities take place throughout the island.
Freedom Square Valletta:
Parata The festival is officially opened with the Parata, an ancient sword dance commemorating Malta's victory over the Turks in 1565. Nowadays it is mainly children who participate in the dance. The Parata is of special significance in the history of the Maltese Carnival. Under the Knights it was taken very seriously, and the Maltese eagerly awaited its performance because the rule was "no Parata, no Carnival".
Kukkanja: Grand Master Zondadari introduced the traditional game Kukkanja (Cockaigne) in 1721. A crowd assembled in the Palace Square on Carnival Monday and at a given signal attacked the hams, sausages and live animals tied to the long beams fixed against the guard house and covered over with branches of trees in leaf. The provisions became the property of those who, having seized them, were able to carry them off i
Prinjolata: Maltese carnival cake. Around carnival time, this enormous white dome of sponge, made out of a special seed, almonds, cake, eggs etc. then coated with beaten meringue and chocolate is poured over it and it is also decorated with cherries.It will be displayed with pride on bars in cafes and patisseries
Perlini are typical sweets made for Carnival. They are almonds coated in sugar of various colors and featured by street vendorsn safety through the crowd.
|In Gozo, Independence
Square is the main Square in Victoria (Rabat) and the scene of the
Nadur, the capital of spontaneous Carnival and the second largest
City on Gozo also holds an organized carnival in counterpoint to its
impulsive famous five nights of masks festival of masks. These two squares provide the venue the all-important
"judging" of the competition floats and costumes.
Victoria also holds competitions at the Gozo Sports Complex. On Carnival Monday there will be dance exhibitions at St. Augustine Square, Vajringa Street, Palm Street, Republic Street. First officially organised in Gozo in the year 1952 with floats and parades, Victoria's main activities take place in It-Tokk,
Carnival Competitions occur on
Carnival Sunday with entertainment by various local groups all
organized by the Nadur Local Council St. Peter & St. Paul Square,
Visit Nadur to learn about
their other great annual festa
Xewkija also has a smaller version of the spontaneous Carnival and a program of Sunday Carnival events
|NADUR Spontaneous Carnival||
FOR THE FIVE DAYS OF NADUR CARNIVAL
the main road of Nadur is literally packed with thousands of people who enjoy the revelry which goes on into the early hours of the morning during the Carnival days as everyone can relate to a sincere effort to invert the established order. Out of the ordinary confusion is sought as horns, bells, banging, whistling, and basically anything that creates a din, filling the air with a buzz that competes with live music playing in venues along the street. The roots of this vibrant Carnival lies in the need to give expression to the repressions simmering within, an opportunity for protest against the ruling classes and a rare opportunity in Malta to ridicule unpopular governance including priests and politicians.
Nadur, revels in defying the official definition of what is acceptable Carnival activity such as the televised parades held in Valletta and Victoria. The church has been known to protest but alas there is no organising committee to fault for this collective expression of the unconscious given a moment outside of time to express itself. This is the five day space where the repressions of the other 360 days of the year are allowed to vent, a rare yet healthy public catharsis.
Expect to see peculiar cross-dressing, and then even more outlandish costumes of hilarious transvestites. Also there's plenty of potty humor where performers may sit on toilets pretending to be doing their business unaware that they are being watched. Many revellers perform skits assisted by a wide variety of props or mini floats. It's both somber and weird, as the imagination becomes real.
Nadur Carnival bands are also a special aspect, they use an obscure indigenous instrument called the zavzava to produce tribal merry music along with tambourines, bongos, clarinet and whatever else. The Nadur Carnival,
This is not a pretty masquerade, but participation is encouraged so do bring a mask if you want to be part of a unique experience and feel the magic of removing your public mask if only for just a few hours. You'll be helped along by the sea night air which carries the rhythms of untold ancient mysteries.
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