With the festive season well underway and Christmas with us today, it’s the perfect moment to look back at the Maltese traditions that have been around for a long time and remain part of our festive celebrations.
The Maltese love their Christmas traditions, and the majority honour them each year without fail.
Lovin Malta has compiled a list of seven Maltese traditions that are as old as time – and even though some might not have initially originated from the island, the Maltese have made them theirs nonetheless.
1. Ġulbiena (Vetches)
Vetches are typically grown in Malta around this time of the year to be used as Christmas decorations. They are normally placed around the set up of Baby Jesus for him to lay comfortably on.
2. Ġesu Bambin (Baby Jesus)
Many Maltese families enjoy setting up a baby doll to represent Jesus Christ as an infant. The sculptured representation of a baby, virtually nude, is then placed on a bed of straw and surrounded by vetches.
3. Presepji (Cribs)
Cribs, or ‘presepji’ in Maltese, are normally set up in windows and surrounded by lights. Cribs normally depict the nativity scene and there are artists in Malta that create the cribs from scratch.
4. Midnight Mass
The midnight mass is another one of Malta’s traditions, mainly for those that are involved within the Roman Catholic community. The mass starts at midnight, hence its name, and normally goes on until around 2am.
5. Pudina tal-ħobż (Pudding)
The Maltese pudding goes back to the 18th Century when Malta was much poorer during those times. Back then Maltese bread was one of the most treasured things in Malta, so people created a dessert that could be made from left-over stale bread, instead of letting it go to waste.
6. Qagħaq tal-Għasel (Honey Rings)
Another one of Malta’s traditional sweets, which is mainly associated with this time of the year. The inside of the rings is filled with oranges, marmalade, lemon, oranges, mixed spices and cinnamon, with the filling known as ‘qastanija’.
7. Christmas Log
While the idea of a Christmas log in itself is not exclusively from Malta, the Maltese have developed their own twist on it over the years. It’s typically made using crushed biscuits, dried cherries, nuts and liqueur.
Which Christmas tradition is closest to your heart? Let us know in the comments below!
Merry Christmas everyone