Victoria International Arts Festival

For five weeks every year in June/July, Victoria joins the festival cities of the world, with artistes and ensembles from all over the world combining to leave their mark on the soul of the island. That is precisely what the Festival in the heart of Victoria, blending drive, professional ethos and the typical Gozo penchant for laid-back charm, has come to signify for an ever-widening network of patrons and admirers hailing from top music centres all over the world down to the cultural-minded visitor and local music lover. Culture makes places distinctive, engendering pride in the local community. It also makes a practical contribution in terms of sustainability, providing employment, encouraging learning and inspiring people to adopt creative and active lifestyles.

“Undoubtedly, Victoria boasts of a community fully inspired to build two magnificent theatres that have brought to Gozo’s magic shores world renowned artistes from all over the world. This city has developed an irresistible passion for musical culture…the Victoria Arts Festival, under the direction of Joseph Vella, is launched in the middle of June with its glittering musical choices.” The Times of Malta (That Super City of Culture, April 2014)

The Agriculture and Industrial Show

The Agriculture and Industrial Show (known also as Il-Wirja ta’ Santa Marija) has been organized by the Gozo Agricultural, Industrial and Cultural Society since 1855. Held annually on the 14th and 15th of August, it is a showcase for local crafts, agricultural products and live animals.
It is held in the Villa Rundle public gardens in Ir-Rabat , which has recently undergone extensive refurbishment.

The show, visited each year by over 10,000 people enjoying more than 4000 exhibits, also has a competitive element. Trophies and cash prizes are awarded by expert judges in 13 categories ranging from animals (including horses, goats, cows, sheep and dogs), to food products and artisan crafts which the show helps to keep alive. The awards ceremony is held on  15th August in the presence of His Excellency The President of Malta.

Qala International Folk Festival

Now in its 14th year, the Qala International Folk Festival has developed into a colourful celebration of cultures through folk dance and music.

For a whole weekend, the village of Qala is transformed into a hub of folk activities as the quaint village square is brought to life by a unique intercultural programme, that has grown to attract locals and visitors for its quality entertainment in an intimate, village setting.

This is a great opportunity to experience life at a village square while enjoying folk dance, music and traditional food, a true taste of Gozo in all senses.

Carnival in Gozo

Carnival Week is undoubtedly one of the most colourful events in the Gozitan – and Maltese – calendar. Traditionally preceding Christian Lent, Carnival provides five days of revelry with many people dressing up in colourful costumes and covering their faces with masks.

Carnival is closely associated with Maltese folklore. It has been celebrated in Malta since the arrival of the Knights of St. John in 1530, and some studies date the first carnival revelry back as early as 1470. Up until 1751, carnival was an activity exclusive to Valletta, but that is certainly not true today.

In Gozo, the main activities take place in It-Tokk (Independence Square), the main square in Gozo’s capital Ir-Rabat and in In-Nadur. Ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s celebrations are the usual carnival fare much like those in Valletta with floats, costumes and general revelry. Carnival in Nadur is quite different.

Nadur’s carnival is deeply traditional and essentially spontaneous. There is no organising committee and there are no rules. In Nadur the purpose of costumes is disguise – quite simply not to be recognised. Sunset reveals a multitude of masked and hooded creatures thronging the streets. People wear all kinds of funny and grotesque costumes, some satirical, and most remain silent to aid their disguise, gaining the Nadur celebrations the sobriquet, The Silent Carnival.

The Nadur ‘floats’ are often little more than carts released from their duties on local farms but there is an edge to the celebrations. Amongst the absurd costumes are to be seen placards daubed with remarks, most of them insults to public (and sometimes private) personalities. In order to avoid libel, many are indirect or veiled references that need the knowledge of a local to interpret them.

Christmas In Gozo

Christmas in Gozo 2018 is a very special time of the year. Just imagine an entire five weeks of non stop activities and events on the island of Gozo, Malta. Check out our top 10 things to do and see during your Malta holidays this Christmas. All activities and events mentioned are entrance free.

1. Gozo Christmas Village
Ghajnsielem – between Sunday 9 December 2018 and Sunday 6 January 2019
Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo 2018

Gozo Christmas Village or as it is popularly known as Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem opens on Sunday 9 December 2018 at 3.30pm and remains open until Sunday 6 January 2019 8.00pm.

The Nativity Village takes place in an area locally known as ‘Ta’ Passi’. It is just a stone’s throw from the main centre of the village-by-the-sea of Ghajnsielem on the island of Gozo, Malta. The whole animated village is spread over a 20,000sqm of land and through various combined works of the local council and volunteers, the first Christmas village is created to provide a wonderful Christmas atmosphere.

2. Christmas Market at Villa Rundle
Victoria – various dates and times below
Christmas market at Villa Rundle Victoria, Gozo

While visiting Gozo’s capital, Victoria, it is just a 3 minutes walk from the bus station to the beautiful Villa Rundle Gardens. A lovely Christmas market is set up on selected dates between the 2nd and the 23rd of December for Gozo’s Christmas Market.

During Christmas in Gozo 2018 festivities, the gardens will be transformed into a magical experience featuring stalls from all over Gozo having different artisan Christmas products, food and services on offer.

3. Christmas Concert at St. George’s Basilica
Victoria – Sunday 16 December 8.00pm
Christmas Concert St George basilica Gozo

The annual Christmas concert organised by Chorus Urbanus Productions has now been in production for almost a quarter of a century. It established itself as one of the traditional Christmas events here in Gozo. The concert offers a moment of entertainment for the whole family to share with us during this festive season. Chorus Urbanus Juniors and Chorus Urbanus, along with Urbanus Festive Orchestra, under the direction of Dr John Galea, always indulge the festive character with the local artists, musicians and voices that make this concert a formidable experience for all Gozitans during the Christmas period.

4. Oh Silent Night – 50th Edition of the Christmas Pageant
San Lawrenz – Sunday 23 December 6.00pm
Christmas pageant San Lawrenz Gozo

This Pageant narrates the story of Salvation, from Creation to the Birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. In this Pageant almost half the population of the village of San Lawrenz takes part and is performed in the main roads and residential homes. Actors in Biblical costumes will narrate the greatest story ever told. Finally, in the main square a Christmas spectacle will be organised to commemorate its 50 years. This event is organised in collaboration with the Ministry for Gozo.

5. Christmas Procession and Pageant
Nadur – Monday 24 December 7.00pm
Christmas procession and pagaent Nadur Gozo

A traditional procession with the statuette of Baby Jesus with the participation of children attending the Society of Christian Doctrine MUSEUM, winds through the streets of Nadur accompanied by the Mnarja Band performing traditional Christmas carols. The procession will take the form of a Pageant featuring a number of people representing Biblical figures.

6. Pop into Christmas in Gozo 2018 spectacular concert
Victoria – Tuesday 25 December 1.00am in St. George’s Square
Pop into Christmas spectacular concert

A Christmas Concert by DCAPITALS Band, exactly after the Midnight Mass at St George’s Basilica. The concert, which is presented in collaboration with The Grapes Wine Bar and Tepie’s Coffee Bar, will feature all-time Christmas favourites and other pop music with the participation of the band’s resident singers under the direction of Mro George Apap.

7. Christmas Concert at Nadur Basilica
Nadur – Tuesday 25 December 7.00pm
Christmas Concert at Nadur Basilica

The Grand Christmas Concert will be held at the Nadur Basilica under the direction of Mro Antoine Theuma. An orchestra, the Society of Christian Doctrine MUSEUM Choir and other established Gozitan singers are going to perform in this concert. The event also features a poetry recital session, a short play and the child’s traditional Christmas sermon.

8. Xaghra Cribs By Night
Xaghra – Saturday 29 December 3.30pm to 8.30pm around the whole town
Gozo Christmas cribs

The Għaqda Milied fix-Xagħra is once more providing the unique opportunity to visit the twenty-five artistic cribs, varying from static to mechanical and a life-size one. This tour takes visitors by minibus around the town. An experienced guide will accompany the group with a running commentary in both English and Maltese. It will visit the Xagħra Basilica, beautifully decorated for Christmas, including an artistic bambino in papier-mache made in Lecce, Italy by Profs Luigi Guacci.

9. Gozo New Year’s Eve 2019 Celebrations
Victoria – Monday 31 December 2018 9.30pm at Independence Square & St. George’s Square
Gozo New Years Eve 2019

The event will be bigger, better and spectacular, like never before. Gozo surely has to be THE destination to say goodbye to 2018 and welcome the new year 2019.

Surely an event not to be missed!

10. Adoration of the Magi
Xaghra – Sunday 6 January 2019 10.30 – 11.00am
Ghajnsielem – Sunday afternoon 6 January 2019
Adoration of the Magi Xaghra Gozo

“La Cavalcata dei Re Magi” – The Arrival of the Three Kings
Post (Venue): Victory Square, Xagħra

This activity will be held on the solemnity of the feast of the Epiphany. During this event the Holy Family will make their way to the parvisfollowed by five shepherds who pay homage to Baby Jesus. The Three Wise Men, in oriental Biblical outfits, arrive on horseback accompanied by servants carrying the Three Biblical presents – gold, incense and myrrh. The re-enactment will be organised by the Għaqda Il-Milied fix-Xagħra with the collaboration of the Xagħra Historical Re-Enactment Organisation, Xagħra Parish and the Xagħra Local Council.

Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo

Il-Wasla tas-Slaten Maġi
Adoration of the Magi
Post (Venue): Ta’ Passi Mġarr Road, Għajnsielem

Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem will close with the “Adoration of the Magi” on Sunday 6th January. The Three Kings will depart on horseback from a yet-to-be announced destination in Europe on the 2nd of January with the journey continuing on the Feast of the Epiphany when on Sunday morning they will depart from a village in Malta before crossing the ferry and make the triumphal entrance in the Nativity Village late in the afternoon to pay homage to the Baby Jesus. More details on facebook.com/bethlehem.f.ghajnsielem