Unfortunately, the church cancelled all pilgrimages, processions or manifestations related to Lent and Holy Week for the second time. Easter is considered the biggest and most celebrated religious event for Christians and it’s the most important feast in the Roman Catholic Church calendar. In  Malta and Gozo, the devotion towards this annual commemoration is very strong , and  evidence to this, are the numerous exhibitions, events and pageants held  around the various towns and villages. The celebrations of Holy Week and Easter are primarily of a religious character, taking place in churches where the faithful gather in large numbers to commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. Holy week is the week immediately preceding Easter, the last week of Lent, starting by the feast of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’. Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows is a deep-rooted tradition in Malta and Gozo and religious processions take place in all the towns and villages over the island. The Thursday before Easter is known as either Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday. Maundy is derived from the Latin word for "command," and refers to Jesus' commandment to the disciples to "Love one another as I have loved you." On this day, the ‘seven visits’ take place, which are the visits to seven different churches, to pay homage to the Altars of Repose. Good Friday is a religious occasion observed by Christians to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. The Maltese Islands are predominantly Roman Catholic, and the Good Friday Procession remains to this day a genuine, voluntary, devotional tradition, the likes of which can only be seen in Italy, Spain, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and it is one of the top events in Malta to experience. Good Friday gives a sombre outlook, as churches are deprived of the traditional ornamental style. Late in the afternoon, various towns and villages commemorate the Passion of the Christ with a solemn procession of statues. Each of these statues represents a particular episode in the Passion of the Christ and is carried by bearers. Between one statue and another (some ten in all) participants are dressed as biblical characters who take part in the procession in a dignified manner. Many processions include men bearing a cross and sometimes dragging chains as well tied to their bare feet, as an act of faith or penance. The mood changes totally on Sunday, when the ringing of church bells announces the Resurrection of Christ. Mid-morning on Easter Sunday, a procession with the statue of the Risen Christ moves along the streets accompanied by band playing festive tunes. At the end, the way is cleared and the statue-bearers take a run to carry the Risen Christ triumphantly back into the church. Easter in Malta is a long affair, with a strong religious significance.

Easter day is traditionally celebrated with a special family lunch. It is also a time to visit relatives and friends, exchanging good wishes and small presents. It’s also tradition to give children chocolate-coated Easter eggs. Malta’s traditional Easter sweet is the ‘figolla’, The Figolla can be traced back thousands of years and has its roots in pagan history but more recently; they are a traditional post-lent snack. This sweet is a mouth-watering short crust pastry with an almond filling, made in a variety of shapes such as rabbit, lamb, butterfly, fish or heart and decorated either with royal icing or else with chocolate. It is given as a gift on Easter Sunday. You can buy these everywhere around this time of the year, from supermarkets, bakeries, confectioneries, and other food shops and they are a must try for anyone visiting the islands.

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