Betlehem f'Ghajnsielem - 6th December 2015 till 4th January 2016
Location: Ghajnsielem Gozo
Experience the timeless story of Nativity
Somewhere, on the tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean, several local volunteers are in the final touches stage for the 6th edition of Betlehem f'Ghajnsielem, the event that has enchanted thousands of visitors over the past few years. The nativity village is situated adjacent to Ghajnsielem main square, on the island of Gozo, just 5 minutes by walk from Mgarr Harbor. Appropriately ''Betlehem f'Ghajnsielem'', this life size crib, constructed on 20,000 square meters (sqm) of field on a stretch of land knows as Ta' Passi, comes to life during the month of December with about 150 actors taking visitors back in time to Judea of 2000 years ago. The athmosphere will simply be unique.... horses turn mills, villagers go about their jobs, shepherds inhabit caves, animals roam in enclosed spaces and a poor unknown couple tend their newly-born in a grotto... It promises to bring the timeless Christmas story to life as never before.
Carnival - 5th February 2016 till 9th February 2016
Carnival week is one of the most colourful events in Gozo. It provides 5 days of revelty with young and old dressing up in colourful costumes and beautiful or grotesquen masks. The main activities take place in the town of Victoria (ir-Rabat) and in Nadur. Celebrations in Rabat include parades with floats, costumes and rhythmic dance. Carnival in Nadur is deeply traditional and essentially spontaneous. Here, the purpose of costumes is disguise - it is pure fun, a concoction of costumes that make people unrecognisable and most remain silent to aid their disguise, gaining the Nadur celebrations the sobriquet, the silent carnival.
Nadur Spontaneous Carnival - 5th February 2016 till 9th February 2016
Location: December 13th Street, St. Peter & Paul Square and the surrounding streets of Nadur
Sunset invites a maltitude of masks and hooded creatures to throng the streets of Nadur. The creativity of those taking part and the many visitors have earned it other names such as grotesque carnival. A unique experience.
13th December Street, St. Peter & Paul Square and the surrounding streets, beginning after sunset each day last ing till the early morning hours.
Gozo Faith & Traditions - Good Friday (March/April)
Gozitans have preserved a strong sense of popular religiosity. During March, Gozo is a hub of activities in preparation for the Good Friday processions and pageants, which provide real life re-enactments of the life and passion of Christ. The pealing of church bells on Easter Sunday on the 5th April heralds the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. An exuberant mode prevails in some localities as groups of bearers wearing the kunfratija, gloriously lift the statue of Christ along the streets to the sound of lively band marches. These celebrations intertwine with local life and traditions and offer the visitor an authentic experience of Gozo.
FMVA Vintage Motors Festival - 12th -13th March 2016
Location: Around Gozo - Ir-Rabar (Victoria)
The 8th FMVS Motor Festival
Gaulitana Festival of Music - 27th March 2016 till 24th April 2016
Il Barbiere di Siviglia will be the highlight of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music. The full scale production of Rossini’s masterpiece, with the participation of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and an international cast, will be under the baton of Colin Attard. The opera will be part of OPERA+ Weekend, 22-24 April. This commences on Friday with a solo piano recital by Michael Laus. The Gaudos Violin Duo feature in a lunchtime Wine & Music event at Vini e Capricci on Saturday. Il Barbiere will be preceded by a pre-opera talk at the Aurora. The Tortorelli-Meluso Duo present a Sunday lunchtime recital, followed by an evening concert by soprano Miriam Cauchi accompanied by a string quintet.
OPERA+ Weekend rounds up Gaulitana, an annual springtime festival which runs from Easter Sunday 27 March till the 24 April 2016, featuring a multifarious programme of events in various genres and styles.
Freedom Day - 31st March
Location: Banca Giuratale, Independence Square, Ir-Rabat (Victoria)
Bis-Sahha Wine Festival - 4th June 2016
Location: Santa Lucija Square, Kercem.
Bis-sahha wine festival in Santa Lucija Square, Kercem. A
Nadur Agriculture Fair - 18th - 19th June 2016
Location: Nadur Square, Nadur
Agricultural Fair on the occasion of the feast of St. Peter & St. Paul .
The event consists of an exhibition of local farm products, crafts, artisians, antique farming tools, traditional Gozitan food & wine tasting. Farm animals are also exhibited and pets are blessed on Sunday morning by the village Archpriest. Traditional folk dance& singing (ghana) is performed on both days.
Festas (in Summer time)
A summer trip to Gozo would not be complete without a visit to a village festa. These are held between the last weekend in May and mid-September. Each town/village holds its annual feast dedicated to its Patron Saint. A typical ‘festa’ lasts three days or longer. The church and village are decorated with lights and bunting and the colourful festa statues of Saints stand outside the church. The main festa statue of the patron saint is paraded through the streets and local musicians provide extra support to the priest and choir in a special mass.
Gozitan Festas are not only religious in nature however and there is plenty of secular fun as well. Bands march through the streets of the village and fireworks light up the skies as crowds enjoy traditional as well as fast food from the many street stalls. Tourists are always welcome and joining a festa is a great way to get a real taste of local life.
Delicata WIne Festival - Late August
Location: Gnien il-Kunsill, Our Lady of Fatima Street, Nadur
Live entertainment featuring renown bands and singers. Wine tasting from a large variety of Delicata Winery and a variety of food stalls from where to select. The atmosphere is unique since the event takes place at the garden overlooking the Gozo-Malta Channel.
Il-Gostra - First Sunday of September
The Gostra is held on the first Sunday of September. Once a very popular summer event in many fishing villages, it has survived only in Xlendi
This traditional sport consists of competitors climbing (running) a greased pole projecting from a headland onto the sea to grasp a flag at its end. Both winners and losers end up in the sea.
There are several other traditional sports activities on the same Sunday that coincide with the celebration of the village festas.
Victory Day - 8th September
Victory day is celebrated on the 8th of September and is of great importance to the Maltese.
On this day the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary is celebrated, as well as the end of the 1565 Great Siege, when the knights aided by the Maltese inflicted on the Turks a great defeat.
Every year there is a pontifical mass held at the cathedral and a military parade in Pjazza Indipendenza. A scholar delivers a speech to commemorate what is perhaps the greatest victory in Maltese history.
Qala International Folk Fest - 16th - 18th September 2016 (Estimated date)
Location: Qala Square
The little village of Qala is located in Gozo, the second island in size of Malta. The village holds, in the second half of September, an international folk festival. Local and guest bands participate in the six days of the festival.
The music, dance, singing, colourful clothes, and the antique atmosphere turn the quiet village to a fascinating center of cultures and multinational folklore traditions.
Despite a population of only 30,000 souls, Gozo has two opera houses in ir-Rabat, the Astra Theatre and the Aurora Opera House. Each puts on at least one fully staged opera a year, often with international soloists. Infact, this opera season is now a regular appointment for opera enthusiasts.
The Aurora Opera House is proud to announce the return of Bizet's all-time favourite opera in 4 acts, CARMEN, in a completely new production on October 2016. Brimming with back-to-back popular classical choruses and arias, the Spanish-set opera, full of toreadors, handsome soldiers and seducing ladies, speaks of a love that not even death can tame. It comes to life (and a tragic death) at the Aurora Opera House on October 15th, 2016.
On the 27th and the 29th October 2016, Verdi’s masterpiece and all-time favorite AIDA is being performed at the Teatru Astra, Victoria, Gozo. If Verdi’s name stands for Italian Opera, than AIDA stands for Verdi: you cannot get beyond AIDA in Italian Opera. Intimacy and Grandeur: superb and poignant music from the word go. Pharaonic in concept and execution.
“If only English National opera and Covent Garden had that sense of cutthroat competition, how much edgier London’s operatic life would be.” Opera Now, April 2014.