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Good Friday Processions In Malta

Good Friday Processions In Malta Are Important
Events During Holy Week

Good Friday processions have been held in Malta since as early as the 16th century. The passion of Christ is carried on a procession of statues symbolising the sacrifice Jesus had to bear to sacrifice His life for all. This day is celebrated as a commemoration when Jesus Christ died on the cross.

Malta commemorates Good Friday every year. It remains a prestigious days for the population. It is a time of reflection about the suffering of Jesus.

Good Friday is celebrated in the churches around the islands with an afternoon service. Afterwards processions are held in various villages with life-size statues. They are take out of the parish church in a procession around the village streets.

Each of these statues represents a particular episode in the Passion of the Christ and is carried by a group of bearers depending on the size of the statue. The least number is six to 10 men.

Participants

Men, women and children participate wearing a variety of costumes such as Roman soldiers and Biblical characters. They walk in between the statues representing a different stage of the passion. 

Hundreds of people from every village participate with such a sincere devotion and dedication from young ones to old persons who would have participated all through their life from year to year.

Brass bands

The village brass bands participate throughout the procession by playing solemn music written purposely for the occasion. It is to be noted that these marches are very popular with the locals.

Good Friday Procession at Zejtun Malta with Beland Band Club playing marches

Church bells and rattle

From the church bells that usually are played during every day of the year to the unusual sound of the cuqlajta (rattle) as a sign of mourning is played from Maundy Thursday till Saturday evening before the Easter church mass is celebrated.

The Local People

Many locals are drawn to go and see the processions of their own village or to another village. They return to see the procession passing through one of the streets. It gives a lovely and definite history of Malta and its values and also has various medieval traditions.

Many foreigners come during Holy Week for their holiday to participate and enjoy the cultural attractiveness of these religious activities. They are provided with pre-paid chairs in the first part of the procession when coming out of the church.

The First Processions

The idea behind the processions in Malta started from the Sicilian and Spanish influences. The first procession in Malta started in early 16th century to dress up in traditional costumes first in Rabat followed then in Valletta.

During the 18th century baptized slaves and condemned persons participated through the procession as a penance to walking during the procession dragging chains tied to their bare feet as an act of faith or penance.

Other countries hold traditional celebrations similar to ours, from Italy, Spain, Puerto Rico and the Philippine.

Statues

Each village has its own feature.  In fact the statues of Birgu in Malta and Victoria and Zebbug in Gozo are dressed in fabric clothing.

There are eight statues which are for the Good Friday Processions, but Qormi and Zejtun have 12 statues.

The first statue is always the l'Ort meaning Jesus tied to the pillar and each statue shows us how Jesus was condemned to death.

The third statue, L-Ecce Homo depicting Christ wearing the crown of thorns, passes by. Then the Ir-Redentur the Redeemer and Il-Veronika The Veronica holding the cloth imprinted with the face of Jesus.

The largest statue follows called in Maltese Il-Vara l-Kbira, depicting Christ on the cross. Then Il-Monument, depicting Christ lying down in the Urn.

The statue of Id-Duluri our Lady of Sorrows is carried as the last one since there will be various persons who follow in prayer.

Good Friday is a public holiday, all businesses are closed and the passage of traffic is diverted away from most town centres to make way for the grand procession.

List of Exhibitions, Plays & Pageants

For the first time in Malta, 'Passio Malta - Ghaqda Hbieb tal-Gimgha l-Kbira'  has taken the initiative to collect and publish a complete directory about the Holy Week activities.

Directory for:

- Exhibitions

- Plays, Pageants and Representations

- Concerts 

- Processions during Holy Week

Good Friday Processions

Sunday 9th April

Villages

Ghaxaq

Gharghur

Time

17:00

17:30

Villages - Time

Ghaxaq - 17:00

Gharghur - 17:30

Friday 14th April

Villages

Birgu - Vittoriosa

Bormla - Cospicua

Isla - Senglea

Luqa

Mosta

Naxxar

Paola

Qormi

Rabat

Valletta

Zebbug

Zejtun

Time

18:00

17:30

17:30

17:30

17:30

17:30

17:30

17:30

18:00

18:00

16:30

17:00

Villages - Time

Birgu - Vittoriosa - 18:00 

Bormla - Cospicua - 17:30

Isla - Senglea - 17:30

Luqa - 17:30

Mosta - 17:30

Naxxar - 17:30

Paola - 17:30

Qormi - 17:30

Rabat - 18:00

Valletta - 18:00

Zebbug - 16:30

Zejtun - 17:00

Good Friday Procession in Valletta. The statue representing Jesus carrying the cross

Good Friday Processions in Gozo

Sunday 9th April April

Villages

Xewkija

Qala

Time

18:30

18:30

Villages - Time

Xewkija - 18:30

Qala - 18:30

Thursday 13th April

Villages

Rabat - San Gorg

Time

17:00

Villages - Time

Rabat - San Gorg - 17:00

Friday 14th April

Villages

Katidral

Nadur

Xaghra

Zebbug

Time

18:30

18:00

18:00

18:00

Villages - Time

Katidral - 18:30

Nadur - 18:00

Xaghra - 18:00

Zebbug - 18:00

If you wish to order a CD of a set of 12 Good Friday Marches composed by Robert Magro and played by a private band, please contact us on the form below.

Malta Info Guide

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.
 

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