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Carnival Malta

Its Carnival Time! All you need to know about Karnival ta’ Malta 2019

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Its Carnival Time! All you need to know about Karnival ta’ Malta 2019

One of the most exciting events in the Maltese calendar is finally here!! Its Carnival Time! Colourful floats, marching bands, magnificent masks, vibrant costumes, delicious food – carnival time brings everyone together. Young and old alike take to the streets for one of the most colourful and popular festivals of the year!

We love Carnival time in Malta! Here is everything you need to know to join in the fun this year!


What is Karnival ta’ Malta?

Karnival ta’ Malta is both a religious and cultural event here on the Maltese Islands. The festival takes place over 5 days, just before the start of lent each year. The celebrations include dressing up in costumes along with processions of colourful floats and marching bands all over the islands.


This year Carnival will take place from the 1st to 5th March 2019.



History of Carnival in Malta

Karnival ta’ Malta dates back to the times of the Knights of the Order of St.John,over 6 centuries ago! Rooted in the catholic religion, this important festival involved displays of strength and skill with competitions and games, particularly popular with the Knights of the time.

The festival grew to include elaborate banquets and masquerade balls where participants wore masks to cover their face-allowing them to ‘play the fool’ and enjoy the celebrations incognito!

The Carnival has continued to grow over the centuries and remains ever popular with locals and visitors alike.

What happens?

Carnival time is the time of year when people are given a to play, have fun and be downright silly! Everyone is encouraged to dress up and join in the festivities. The main celebrations are held in Malta’s capital Valletta.


During the run up to the festival teams begin building brightly coloured floats – which take to the streets in a lively parade. The floats are judged and the winner declared ‘King of the Carnival’. Last years’ winner will lead the parade this year as the ‘king’ of the event. Every year the floats get bigger and more elaborate, with many now including lighting and sound displays – adding to the party atmosphere!


There are also dress competitions for the best dressed participants along with late night parties and masked balls.

Valletta isn’t the only place to hold celebrations though as events can be found all over the islands, notably in Nadur, Gozo where young Gozoians, get dressed up and enjoy the festivities long into the night.


As with all Maltese festivals food plays an important part of the event. You will find many stalls selling everything you can imagine from sweet to savoury everything in-between.

Among the various delights you will also find ‘Prinjolata’ a special Carnival cake. Traditionally a large sized cake, these days vendors now also sell a smaller ‘mini’ version for you to enjoy!


There are a number of events happening over the next 5 days.

For more information check out the official programme here



As always, don’t forget to tag ESE in your photos.

We would love to share your Carnival pictures!#esemalta