The scene changes dramatically on Easter morning, and the triumphal Resurrection of the Lord is traditionally celebrated with a morning procession with the statue of the Risen Christ which is carried shoulder high by parishioners. The statue bearers actually run with the statue through the main streets of the town or village to the applause of the crowds. Throughout the procession people throw paper confetti from windows and balconies adding to the joyous atmosphere of the day. In contrast to the solemn Good Friday processions, on Easter Sunday brass bands play joyous tunes all along the procession. Children too enjoy, thanks to gifts of Easter Eggs and local traditional Figolla – usually a pastry figure of a lamb or a fish which they carry with them and hold out to be blessed by the Risen Christ as the statue makes its way past them.
Whilst a good number of localities hold these processions, the most popular are those held in the Qormi and Cospicua. Church bells are rung again and families gather for a special meal. This is the most important feast of all as it shows us that Jesus is God: he raised himself from the death! Happy Easter to all of you!
Good Friday is a day of penance, and this is strictly observed through the veneration of the Cross and through traditional Good Friday processions in different parishes. Statues representing various scenes from the Passion and Death of Christ, several of them works of art by local artisans, are carried processionally. Figures dressed in biblical, roman and jewish costumes also take part, as do the local bands playing funeral marches. These well organized and solemn religious processions and pageants are held in many towns and villages, with statues and costumes with local actors representing scenes from the Passion of Christ. In some parts of Malta, these processions will include a number of penitents dressed in white robes and hoods, walking barefoot or occasionally with chains tied to their ankles as an act of penance or in fulfilment of a vow. This is a unique, old tradition which still survives today. Everyone is asked to be silent on this day and think about Jesus’s love towards us. As a sign of sacrifice catholics fast on this day and young children are asked not to eat any sweets.
Holy Week celebrations start on Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In the past, celebrations used to start on the Wednesday after Palm Sunday called l-Erbgħa tat-Tniebri when all the candles in church used to be switched off. Nowadays celebrations really take off on Maundy Thursday, with the commemoration of the Last Supper. Traditionally, the faithful pay visits to seven Altars of Repose, preferably in different churches. Several artistic examples of these altars, beautifully decorated for the occasion, are to be found in a number of parishes in Malta and Gozo. But the most popular are the Altars of Repose that set in the churches of Valletta, Imdina and of the Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea. Representations of the Last Supper table are put up in many towns and villages, and typically, the food used in these displays is distributed among the poor and needy of the parish. In the evening there are special masses during which there is the ceremony of the washing of the apostles’ feet. This is held in almost all churches. Then the church bells stop as a sign of mourning for Jesus’s death.
The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows has a very special place in the hearts of thousands of people. This feast is traditionally celebrated on the Friday before Good Friday, with the faithful walking in the procession behind the statue of Our Lady in practically every town and village. Traditionally, some of the penitents walk barefoot in fulfilment of some vow for favours received through divine intercession. The most popular Our Lady of Sorrows procession, is that one that held in the church of Our Lady of Jesus, in Valletta. This is a special feast that reminds us about the seven times in Our Lady’s life when she suffered because of her son Jesus. These moments started during the presentation in the temple and ended during Jesus’s death on the cross. During this feast we should all remember and pray for the millions of mothers all over the world who suffer because of their children.
The Year 4 class discussed with their teacher Ms Matthia, the individual dream jobs of each learner. All learners had great ideas for their future and one child chose to share with us her dream job, that of becoming an animal trainer. A big well done to Kyra Gauci for her work and for her dedication with animals.
Please click here to read her writing: My Dream Job – Kyra Gauci