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. Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem will open on selected dates in 2023. In the same village, a 60 feet steel Christmas tree decorated with more than 4,500 glass bottles, will be on display in front of the main parish church. This year it will be inaugurated on the 10th December.
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 turkey 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.
On the 23rd December, starting from 08.00 PM, a Christmas parade will be taking place on the main street in Victoria.
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 2023
CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2023
A SELECTION OF CHRISTMAS CONCERTS AND CAROL SERVICES IN 2023
It’s Christmas Time
Date: Friday 24th November
Location: Aurora Theatre, Victoria
Sounds of Christmas
Date: Saturday 2nd December
Location: Oratory Don Bosco, St Augustine Square, Victoria
Date: Sunday 10th December
Location: St. George’s Basilica, Victoria
Feel the Magic of Christmas (26th Edition)
Date: Sunday 17th December
Location: Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fontana
The Grand Christmas Concert
Date: Wednesday 20th December
Location: St Margaret Parish Church, Sannat
The Grand Leone Christmas Variety Concert
Date: Friday, 22nd December
Location: Teatru Aurora, Victoria