Gozo is a special place to celebrate the beauty and wonder of Christmas. Like all religious festivals in the Maltese islands, Christmas celebrations engage many senses. The Christmas story is related through elaborate cribs, festive lights, live re-enactments of the Nativity scene, hearty meals, mulled wine and the warm atmosphere of Christmas markets, traditional songs played in village squares, church concerts and midnight masses. Locals love to celebrate Christmas and you can feel the festive atmosphere all around the island.
Not just the streets, but many private homes are decorated with lights, cribs and displays of baby Jesus and angels. Most villages will have exhibitions of cribs and nativity scenes throughout the month of December.
The remarkable life-size animated crib in Nadur and the nativity village in Ghajnsielem are not to be missed. Local participants in period costumes and animals take part in these crib exhibitions that re-create various Bethlehem scenes.
During the festive season, several carol services and Christmas concerts will take place in lavishly decorated churches all over the island.
On Christmas Eve, many villages will have local processions with Baby Jesus, followed by pageants, carols, concerts, and a Midnight Mass with the traditional child sermon, where a young child addresses the congregation. The child sermon, a retelling of the Nativity story, is given by a boy or a girl between the ages of 7 and 10. This is considered to be a great honour and is usually prepared for months in advance.
Christmas Day is usually quiet as it is considered family time and all the families reunite together for a Christmas lunch. It is a sumptuous meal, often with enough food to feed the whole family for a week. Traditional Christmas foods include mince pies and Christmas pudding – both a British influence, baked pork or chicken, a chestnut and chocolate drink, and “honey rings” – pastry filled with a blend of marmalade, sugar, lemon, oranges, mixed spice, cinnamon, vanilla and syrup.
Various indoor parties, events and outdoor celebrations are held on New Year’s Eve. In Victoria, a New Year’s Eve outdoor party will take place with live music and fireworks at midnight.
Several hotels and restaurants on Gozo will also be offering Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch, as well as New Year’s Eve gala dinner.
Below are some of the major events and attractions taking place on Gozo during the festive season. For a full list of events and activities, go to Christmas in Gozo 2019
Villa Rundle, Victoria
Date: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December
Time: 16:00 to 20:00 on Fridays, 10:00 to 18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays
Victory Square, Xaghra
Date: Sun, 8th December
Time: 08:00 to 14:00
St John the Baptist Square, Xewkija
Date: Friday & Saturday, 13th and 14th December
CHRISTMAS CONCERTS AND CAROL SERVICES
Date: Sunday 15th December
Location: St George’s Basilica, Victoria
Anglican Service of Lessons and Carols
Date: Wednesday 25th December
Location: Gozo Seminary Chapel, Victoria
Carols in the Cathedral Concert
Date: Friday 27th December
Location: Gozo Cathedral, the Citadel, Victoria
Open-air nativity village
Date: Friday 13th December 2019 till Sunday 5th January 2020
Time: animated on Friday and weekend afternoons, and Wednesday mornings
Event Details: www.ghajnsielem.com/bethlehem
Date: Tuesday, 24th December
TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS PROCESSIONS
Time: 18:00 onwards
Locations: Xewkija, Qala, Victoria, Nadur
CHRISTMAS DAY CONCERT
Date: Wednesday, 25th December
Time: 01.00 AM to 02.30 AM
Location: St. George’s Square, Victoria
Events Details: The concert is performed right after the midnight mass in St George’s Basilica.
NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATIONS
Date: Tuesday, 31st December 2019
Time: 21:30 to 02:00 AM
Location: Independence Square and St. George’s Square