Easter Sunday is the climax of the Holy Week celebrations. It is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar since it commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Gozo, as in Malta, Easter is celebrated with high liturgical and festive activities. Starting on Easter Saturday or Easter Vigil, all parishes gather the faithful in their churches for a solemn religious service and the traditional rituals of the blessing of water and fire. The church lights are turned off reducing visibility to a mere glimpse, then each of the congregation lights a candle from the Pascal Candle and the whole church springs alive with hundreds of flickering yellow flames.
Bells ring out across the island and the scriptures are read and sermons delivered before the celebrant blesses the holy water that is used for baptisms and the whole congregation confirms their faith by reciting the baptismal vows. After the service the congregation usually stays for a while in the church for a drink or a taste of the traditional Figolla (Maltese almond Easter cake).
On Easter Sunday Gozo awakes to a cacophony of church bells and Christians flock to their churches for the Easter Mass. Some parishes follow the service with a traditional march with the statue of the risen Christ. These traditional marches are usually accompanied by local bands and their popularity has remained undimmed through several centuries.
These Easter Sunday processions are in sharp contrast to those of Good Friday as the sombre atmosphere gives way to a general expression of joy. In some parishes the bearers run with the statue for the last part of the procession. At the end of each dash, the bearers lift and jolt the statue high above their heads as a sign of victory. Gozo’s capital, Ir-Rabat , organises two processions with two local bands. The first comes out of accompanied by the La Stella Band and then, as if to eternally prolong the celebrations, a second procession emerges from Gozo’s Cathedral, within the Citadel walls, accompanied by Leone Band.
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