As with everything else in Malta, there are the lovers and the haters of carnival. The enthusiasts can’t understand what there is not to like about carnival (‘Iġri jasal il-karnival ħa nżanżan il-glitters!‘), whereas haters can’t understand the hype (‘X’għala ż**** mill-carnival’). Then, as always, there are the people who are just happy to have another excuse to get drunk.
So let’s quit being so black and white for once and try to even it out. Here are some things to love and hate about carnival in Malta and Gozo.
1. Hate: Creepy AF Floats With Creepy AF Smiles
As much work and artistry that goes into them, there’s something super creepy about carnival floats. Maybe it’s the combination of the permanent look of surprise (like that neighbour who’s had too much face-lifting done), and the exaggerated happiness of those scary clowns.
2. Love: Creativity
Most of us buy our costumes ready-made and top them off with some crappy accessories, ‘Ejja ħa mmorru‘ style. For this reason we mourn the escalating prices of costumes, especially in Malta where they can be found at just a select few shops. Sometimes though, people get truly creative with their costumes, from a strong concept to the execution stage. We love that.
3. Hate: Carnival Music
Boom boom boom. Boom boom boom. Cue: out of tune trumpets.
Memories of the festi we were so happy to get rid of after the long summer months, accompanied by out-of-tune trumpets that sound like they’re dying (‘X’jistonaw!’), are back with a vengeance. Maybe if the music was sweeter and young talent could shine through, haters would like it more. But a bunch of unenthusiastic members of the banda hardly reel one in.
4. Love: Being Able To Act Like A Kid
Let that inner kid out. Let that candy floss in.
5. Hate: Valletta Carnival Dances
Let’s be honest, Valletta’s carnival dance moves are hardly akin to the Sambodromo in Rio. A generally unenthusiastic group of dancers cheered on by an equally unenthusiastic audience, half of whom are an awkward group of men who’d rather be watching football, dragged there by their wives and children.
6. Love: You can be whatever you want to be
Release your inner weirdo. No one is judging.
7. Hate: Nadur Madness
People going one step too far in Nadur; throwing raw meat and other unidentifiable objects off carts and onto the crowds – not the most fun. Also, rubbing up against sweaty drunk people with running make up? Yeah.. no, we’re good.
8. Love: Nadur Madness
On the other hand, carnival in Nadur is where everyone’s inhibitions get thrown out with those animal remains. People are at their wildest – meaning it makes for some undeniably memorable moments. Pretty tough to beat.