malta christmas day
the most festive day of the year
Malta Christmas Day is a day for families to gather for lunch. We celebrate this feast by saying 'Happy Christmas' or 'Il-Milied it-Tajjeb' in Maltese. On this day, children expect presents and family members share presents among themselves.
When do we celebrate Christmas in Malta? The official day is 25th December.
malta christmas day at a glance
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What can I do On This Day?
Malta Christmas Day
It is best to make plans in advance if you are visiting us during these festive days. You should ask and do your research beforehand if you don't want to be disappointed.
The day is quieter than usual. Friends and relatives will visit one another to greet and exchange gifts. In other words, peak hours for movement are late morning and late afternoon.
This is how you can spend your holiday in Malta over Christmas and also New Year's.
where to spend christmas in malta
- Go for a walk in the countryside.
- Go eat lunch at one of the restaurants on the island.
- Go for a day to Gozo where you can visit the Citadel. Be aware that all museums in Gozo will be closed.
- For Gozo you can collect a booklet with all the crib exhibits at the sister island which will surley be very handy for activities all during December.
- Go to Christmas morning mass which is held at every church on the island.
- There are several live Christmas cribs in Malta which you can visit on this day. Take note that the hours are limited and some might be closed.
- A visit to Popeye Village, which will be decorated for the Christmas season.
- If you plan to have a rental car, it is great for a nice drive in the countryside. Blue Grotto area, Dingli cliffs, Mdina, Rabat or Mosta.
- A visit to to the capital city Valletta or Mdina the old capital. It will be great to have a guidebook to guide you around. It is great to talk around the Valletta fortifications for great views.
What is the weather like during this day?
Usually, Christmas is warm and sunny with blue skies and five to six hours of sunshine. On a sunny day, you can expect the temperature to be about 15°C to 18°C, but rain is still possible.
Be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand, since the weather is always unpredictable. You may want to check out our page on the weather in December.
Christmas morning mass
On Christmas day mass times follow the usual Sundays timetable. All churches all over Malta and Gozo will be packed for all morning mass times.
It is very common to see people that never go to mass during the year and they attend on this day. Mass is the same as all Sundays.
What is closed and what is open
- Since Christmas day is an official public holiday, most of Malta will be on shutdown.
- Schools are closed for a period of around 10 to 15 days depending on the school.
- Hospitals and essential services remain operational, including the police forces, and other emergency services.
- Government offices are all closed.
- Restaurants, bars and hotel are open. Several restaurants close so that the staff can enjoy their families.
- Some supermarkets will be open but hours will be limited for the mornings only. Small groceries might be open for a few hours but you will have to double check.
- Museums and historical sites are all closed.
- Tours and cruises are probably not scheduled for this day. It is best to check with your hotel. If you are booking a tour online, these particular days will be blocked as tours are unavailable.
- Theatre performances are probably on, but pantomimes are not scheduled on Christmas eve, day and New year's eve and day. Generally on the booking website of these performances there will be a notice of when the shows take place.
A typical Maltese Christmas Lunch
Malta Christmas Day
As we always say the Maltese are big eaters and so they do a lot of preparations for lunch on Christmas and New Year’s day.
For these meals, families get together with nephews and relatives. It is natural that no one wishes to be disappointed with lack of food or not being tasty enough, so a lot of time is dedicated in order to satisfy all tastes.
It is the usual way how families meet up and stay together for many hours at each other homes, with an endless flow of food till tea time till late afternoon.
Typical food for this day and also the same for New Year's day.
- As a starter, surely something related to pasta like, imqarun (baked pasta) or timpana (layers of pasta with bolognese sauce and wrapped with pastry), lasagna or spaghetti with sauce. As a lighter plate to start with a soup of chicken or meat.
- For main course, we love to eat turkey, chicken or pork baked as whole or in sizeable portions, in the oven with potatoes and onions flavoured with herbs. This would be the main plate.
- For deserts, you will definitely find on the table the Christmas log, the Italian classic panettone, Christmas cake, almond pastries and mince pies.
- For tea time, members of the families go to their other part of the families to celebrate some time with them during the evening with more food, which now will be like pastries and spirit drinks and beer. Others a delicious cup of tea that goes well with pastries.
what do restaurants and hotels offer?
- Restaurants offer a la carte or set menu. Some restaurants that normally offer a la carte they will have a set menu at a fixed price. All fast-food restaurants like McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and other Maltese fast-food outlets are open.
- Hotels offer a typical buffet lunch with a fixed price where you are free to take as much as you want. Here you will surely not miss the big variety of Maltese tasty food and deserts. Before booking at a restaurant or hotel, make sure you find out what the restaurant will offer on these special days.
Public Transport For Christmas Eve and Day
Malta Christmas Day
Buses all over Malta and Gozo operate as usual on Christmas eve and day except that on Christmas day buses are suspended between 12:00 to 15:00 so that the workers can have lunch with their family.
getting to gozo by ferry
The normal Gozo channel schedule is operated, but here is an afternoon time when the ferry stops for 2 or 3 hours to give the possibility for the crew to go home to have lunch with their families. There is also the Gozo fast ferry that operates at a different schedule from Valletta.
Taxis are operational both during Christmas eve and all throughout Christmas day. For Christmas eve we recommend you book your taxi beforehand as people remain out late and will take a taxi back home.
What Happens The Day Before and After Christmas
The day before christmas
- It is probably the busiest day of the year for everyone and the peak for all the preparations for everyone. Either on leave, shutdown, working, school closed at the same time, everyone focused on what he is going to do this day and the next.
- This day all shops are surely open as people move around to buy the last present and food for Christmas Day.
- On the 24th of December midnight mass is held in all parishes where the locals fill up all the churches where the functions start at 11:00. It is tradition that a child delivers a sermon on the story of the birth of Jesus apart from carol singing and concluding with mass.
- There are various parishes that celebrate extra mass much earlier for the commodity of the community.
- It is the local tradition that after 01:00 on Christmas day, many go for breakfast morning at restaurants and hotels with family and friends.
The day after christmas
- The day after Christmas is Boxing day a holiday for many bank employees. Surely it is for all local branches such as HSBC, BOV, Lombard, APS and Banif.
- It is a normal day as many workers go back to work and government departments open as usual. It is still shutdown for many businesses since the days between Christmas and new year are shutdown for many. So very low traffic on the roads.
- People rush to the shops to change clothes after having receiving them as presents or vouchers, and shops start with sales. Museums are all open and tours are operated.
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By Albert and Benjamin Magro