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Alternative cultural programme for Maltese carnival

Alternative cultural programme for Maltese carnival

Festivals Malta, the national government body dedicated to the nurturing and growth of festivals and cultural events around the Maltese Islands, has announced an ‘alternative cultural programme’ for Carnival.

This statement, though somewhat vague, seems to imply that the traditional street parades associated with Carnival weekend in Malta and Gozo, are not happening for a second year in a row.

Festivals Malta released a statement after rumours swirled that Carnival was being postponed, due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases locally.

What is the carnival parade?

Carnival has had an important place on the Maltese cultural calendar for just under five centuries, as it’s been celebrated since at least the mid-15th century, since the rule of Grand Master Piero de Ponte, in 1535.

The largest of the celebrations include the Carnival parade, which takes place mainly around the capital city of Valletta, as well as Floriana and in Nadur, in Gozo, with the latter being notable for its darker and more risqué themes.

Extravagantly coloured floats are perched on lorries for the procession, children (and adults alike) run around in fancy costumes and traditional Carnival sweets such as perlini, multi-coloured sugar-coated almonds, and prinjolata, a towering assembly of sponge cake, biscuits, almonds and citrus fruits, are eaten.

What will the alternative cultural programme entail?

Good question. Festivals Malta said that the programme will “continue to celebrate our country’s artistic expression and cultural traditions, while also safeguarding the health of the participants and the general public.” It also said that it would include an exhibition of consumes and Carnival-related photography and an interpretation of the Qarċilla in Spazju Kreattiv, as well as various carnivalesque installations throughout the streets of Valletta.

Festivals Malta did not mention the parade, though it has not yet been confirmed whether or not it will take place.

Are you hoping the parade will take place?