<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=4718930&amp;fmt=gif">
Skip to content
News Page - Maltese Christmas 2023_desktop
News Page - Maltese Christmas 2023_mobile

Christmas in Malta: A Magical Mediterranean Celebration

Christmas is a time of joy, warmth, and celebration around the world. This festive season is a particularly celebrated event in Malta that offers a special warmth in unique experiences of the Maltese culture with its rich history, strong religious traditions, and a mix of Mediterranean and British influences. Christmas in Malta has a great significance and an authentic charm. In this article, we will explore the customs, traditions, and the overall spirit that makes Christmas in Malta truly remarkable.

The Maltese Advent

Christmas celebrations in Malta begin before the 25th of December. The Maltese Advent season, which typically starts in early December, is marked by various customs and traditions that set the tone for the Christmas festivities. 

The Christmas Crib Trail

Christmas Crib Malta

One of the most cherished traditions in Malta is the Christmas Crib Trail, where individuals and communities open their homes and churches to display their nativity scenes to the public. This allows visitors to admire the creativity and artistry that go into making these nativity scenes.


Midnight Mass and Processions

Midnight Mass and Processions - Ta Pinu Church in GozoMidnight Mass, or "Misa tal-Lewwied" in Maltese, is a central event in Maltese Christmas celebrations. Families gather at churches to celebrate the birth of Christ, featuring beautiful hymns and carols sung in both Maltese and English. The midnight mass often culminates in a grand display of fireworks, illuminating the night sky reflecting the festive atmosphere.

Processions are also a common sight during the Christmas season in Malta. These processions, featuring statues of religious figures, are held in various towns and villages throughout the Advent season. Each locality takes pride in their procession, often competing to have the most splendid and meaningful event.

Christmas Pantomimes

Pantomimes, often referred to as "pantos," originated in the United Kingdom and are typically performed during the Christmas season. A typical theatrical entertainment that is known for its interactive and family-friendly nature. Pantomimes often include elements of fairy tales, slapstick comedy, cross-dressing characters, and audience participation.

Among numerous performances and cultural events during the festive season, in Malta local theaters and community groups organize Christmas-themed shows and pantomimes which brings the family together. One of the most popular panto is the annual pantomime held at one of the capital’s gems: The Manoel theatre. The theater is recognized as the third-oldest operational theater in Europe, surpassing the San Carlo in Naples. Additionally, it holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating theater within the Commonwealth of Nations. 

Traditional Maltese Christmas Cuisine

Food plays a significant role in Maltese Christmas celebrations. Traditional Maltese dishes are prepared with love and care, and they often reflect the influence of both Mediterranean and British cuisines. Roast meats, particularly turkey and ham, are popular choices for the Christmas feast. However, it's the unique Maltese dishes that truly stand out. 

Honey Rings - Maltese Christmas Sweets‘Qagħaq tal-għasel’, or sweet pastry rings filled with a treacle mixture, carry the name 'honey rings' when translated literally, even though there's no actual honey in the recipe. The primary component of the filling is treacle, known as ‘għasel iswed’ in Maltese, possibly contributing to the misleading name. In times past, villagers utilized ‘qastanija’ instead of treacle for their ‘qagħaq tal-għasel’. This involved melting down honeycombs post honey extraction. ‘Qastanija’, likely derived from the Italian word castagna (chestnut), potentially due to the mixture's chestnut-like color, despite the absence of chestnuts. Over time, ‘qastanija’ gave way to black treacle. For those with a penchant for sweetness, sugar is incorporated into the filling mixture.
Another popular Christmas tradition is the preparation of "Imbuljuta tal-Qastan," a hot chocolate and chestnut drink that provides warmth and comfort during the chilly winter nights. ‘Imbuljuta’ is a classic Maltese beverage enjoyed following Midnight Mass during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It provides an ideal concoction for those festive nights when you cravecraving a warm, flavorful, and seasonally delightful drink. The beverage emanates a delightful Christmassy aroma, courtesy of its key ingredients: cloves, cinnamon, chocolate, orange, tangerine rinds, and, of course, chestnuts. Typically, it is presented poured in mugs or small bowls, ensuring it is always served steaming hot.

One can taste authentic Maltese cuisine through several high-rated restaurants around the island. Whether you are looking for fine dining in a luxury setting or mouth-watering petit fours with a glass of local wine, the island can serve your appetite deliciously. 

The Maltese Christmas Spirit

What makes Christmas in Malta truly special is the strong sense of community and family. The festive season serves as an occasion for people to unite, visit each other's homes, and spread love and goodwill. The Maltese people are known for their warm hospitality and generosity, and this spirit is particularly evident during the Christmas season.

Mosta Christmas Lights 2023Additionally, the stunning decorations that adorn the towns and villages of Malta create a magical atmosphere. The streets decorated with colorful lights, and the squares are filled with beautifully ornamented Christmas trees. Valletta, Malta's capital city, comes alive with festive markets and the streets are filled with the sounds of carolers and Christmas music. Traditional festive markets have become a popular event for different localities in Malta, an opportunity to promote their distinctive and rural traditions, to each of its own.

Christmas in Malta is a time of profound religious significance, artistic expression, and joyful togetherness. The Maltese people's strong faith, rich traditions, and welcoming spirit make this Mediterranean island a truly enchanting place to experience this upcoming holiday season. From the beautifully crafted nativity scenes to the delectable traditional dishes, Christmas in Malta is a time of magic and wonder that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

If you would like to receive more information on how to spend your Christmas in Malta lavishly, please provide us with your contact details and one of our team members shall be in contact with you promptly.

Credits to Fairylandmalta for this article's lead photo showing Valletta's Christmas Village at the very entrance of Malta's Capital City.

Follow Us


Fill your email below to subscribe to our newsletter

Contact our Multilingual Team in Malta's Office