Gozo, although being a small island, has a thriving cultural life that includes yearly celebrations like arts, opera, and folk festivals, boisterous religious holidays like Easter and Christmas, and the numerous local festas that take place throughout the summer. The main annual arts and cultural events in Gozo are listed below.
SEASON OF CARNIVAL
Early in February each year, Gozo has Carnival Week, a five-day event filled with colour, parades, costumes, and lots of entertainment. The capital Victoria (Rabat) and the little community of Nadur in Gozo’s southeast serve as the main hubs for activity.
The Carnival in Nadur, also known as the Spontaneous Carnival, is very different from the celebrations in Victoria, which often feature well-organized street parades, colourful floats, and dance. Visitors can have an absolutely unique experience at the Nadur carnival.
As dusk falls, you’ll notice individuals in hideous masks and costumes beginning to discreetly stroll through the village streets. Disguise is the name of the game, and over time, costumes and masks have evolved to become increasingly strange, cryptic, and even humorous.
On the Maltese Islands, Easter is a significant occasion and a wonderful time to visit Gozo. With processions and special church services, you’ll observe a variety of sombre religious sentiments, but you’ll also notice that by Easter Sunday, the atmosphere is more joyous.
Naturally, food plays a significant part throughout Lent and Easter, and there are many traditional specialties to try, such as Figolli, Qassatat, and Qagqa tal-appostli. Easter is a fantastic time to take your family to Gozo.
INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL IN VICTORIA
From early June to early July, there are five weeks worth of daily cultural events that make up the Victoria International Arts Festival.
The festival, which has been going on since 1997, draws more than 600 musicians who work together to produce a thrilling and varied schedule of classical musical events, including an amazing 33 concerts each night.
The festival is sponsored by a Cultural Partnership Agreement with the Government of Malta, and the best part is that admission is free.
GAULITANA, A MUSIC FESTIVAL
Since 2007, Gozo has hosted this significant music event each spring. The Gaulitana festival, which showcases both local and international talent, often takes place in April and May.
Concerts are presented in a variety of settings and in a number of musical genres, including orchestral, chamber, liturgical, secular, serious, and choral.
By travelling to Gozo in the summer, you can take advantage of the opportunity to take part in some of the island’s well-known community celebrations. From the end of May until the middle of September, the communities of Gozo celebrate local patron saints on the weekends.
These festas, which combine secular rivalry and religious fervour, have developed into magnificent spectacles.
Beautifully decorated churches and village streets, marching bands, religious processions, dancing, traditional cuisine, horse and donkey racing, and breathtaking firework displays are all to be found.
QALA INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL
Held in the quaint village of Qala in the southeast of Gozo over a long weekend in mid-September each year, this festival comprises a lively mix of folk music, dance, costumes, and food.
The Festival Mediterranea, a special cultural and artistic event, is held in Gozo from the end of October to the beginning of December. Opera and classical music enthusiasts can take in beautiful performances by renowned musicians from around the world in magnificent theaters.
CHRISTMAS IN GOZO
If you’re fortunate enough to be visiting Gozo with your family in December, you’ll get to experience a truly unique Christmas.
In addition to choirs singing gorgeous songs, you’ll see traditional processions and beautiful hand-crafted nativity scenes as well as dazzling lights and decorations illuminating Victoria, the island’s capital, and village squares throughout the island.
The nativity narrative is acted out in an unusual way during the Christmas season in Bethlehem f’ Gozo, which is located in the fields near Gajnsielem in the south of Gozo. There, 150 performers (villagers) and animals live and work as they would have done 2,000 years ago.
Shepherds tending to their flocks, locals going about their daily business, and a couple caring for a newborn child in a grotto are all there.