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Gozo Carnival

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Are you joining us at the Gozo Carnival celebrations from the 24th to the 28th of February?

Historically a time of feasting before the onset of Lent, Carnival in Gozo is deeply rooted in a series of older traditions, some of which date back to the Knights of St. John and which today have been become woven in the mosaic of colourful costumes, celebrations and parades!

Older Gozitan Traditions:

Gozo has its own carnival customs.  Many years ago, children donned costumes as ‘maskarati’, and ran around the streets teasing anyone they met and in general being a nuisance!  Sometimes, they would string along a series of empty tin cans to make noises as they scampered through the streets. Musicians would band up on a cart or ‘karrozzin’ decorated with palm fronds. Together they would go around the village or right up to Victoria in the pursuit of merry-making.   A crowd of people and children would often follow them to catch sweets thrown off from the cart.  These musicians would stop at traditional bars for a bout of singing, fully accompanied with guitars, accordion, and drum.    Yet another carnival ritual involved some revellers who haunted the streets at night time dressed up in sheets and blankets.

Another custom, still alive today is the Kummittiva, a kind of folklore dance long associated with the village of Xagħra,  where the dancers go round a maypole with ribbons.  Without any doubt, the spontaneous, darker and grotesque carnival of Nadur is also one of the highlights of both the older and modern Gozitan Carnival.

Carnival in gozo

Highlights of this year’s Carnival:

Sunday 19th Feb:  Kickoff of the Carnival celebrations with a variety of Carnival costumes, dances, hilarious sketches, maskeruni and floats. The traditional Kukkanja ends the event.

Wednesday 22nd Feb: A children’s carnival the Għarb village square

Friday 24th Feb:

  • Gozo’s regional carnival in Victoria
  • Nadur Spontaneous Carnival
  • Other organised carnivals in San Lawrenz and Qala

Saturday 25th Feb:

  • Carnival celebrations in Victoria both in the morning and in the evening
  • Traditional carnival in Xagħra
  • Nadur Spontaneous Carnival

Sunday 26th Feb:

  • Afternoon parade and celebrations in Victoria
  • Organised carnivals in the villages of Xewkija, Xagħra and Żebbuġ
  • Nadur Spontaneous Carnival

Monday 27th Feb:

  • Carnival celebrations in the evening in Victoria
  • Organised carnival in Sannat
  • Nadur Spontaneous Carnival

Tuesday 28th Feb:

  • Carnival celebrations in the evening in Victoria
  • Nadur Spontaneous Carnival

View full Carnival Programme of Events here.

Enjoying the Carnival Holiday in Gozo!

If you are intent on enjoying the Carnival holiday in Gozo, we suggest that you look up places of accommodation on our portal and make an early booking. Booking a farmhouse in the middle of the countryside at this time of the year will let you bask in the peaceful yet colourful countryside and join the Carnival crowd in Victoria, Nadur or the other villages later on in the day. On the other hand, you might opt to check in at one of the boutique hotels that we have in several locations in Gozo.

And finally, make sure you treat yourself to the Carnival sweets.  Gozo carnival is associated with colour candied almonds, known as ‘perlini’ and the ‘prinjolata’.  The latter, a type of cake, in the form of a dome, made from crushed biscuits, iced and covered with crushed nuts, dripping chocolates and cherries is too good to miss!

Gozo Carnival 2017


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