Nearly every town and village took part in the Masses, ceremonies and processions organised during Holy Week. There was so much happening from sacred exhibitions, to concerts, religious displays and quiet processions with a full array of costumes and symbolism. The Holy Week activities began on Friday15th when a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, known in Maltese as Id-Duluri, was carried with great devotion throughout the many towns and villages. The community participation was widespread: locals of all ages sang hymns and prayed along the way. On this day, many people also remembered Our Lady’s sorrow by fasting on bread and water, and some walked barefoot behind the statue. At the beginning of Holy Week, bakers prepared delicious breads with sesame seeds and almonds, called the “Apostles’ loaves”, to recall the meal served to the apostles at the Last Supper. For the Maltese, the commemoration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday (21st April) included the popular tradition of holy exhibition tables. Tables were arranged with plates of rice, grains, olives, dates and nuts in eye-catching designs to celebrate the Last Supper. Much of this food was later distributed to poor families in the parishes. In the evening the ‘seven visits’ took place, which are the visits to seven different churches, to pay homage to the Altars of Repose. Temporary steps were placed in front of the altars; they were covered in red damask carpets with elaborate side curtains to match. Special flowers, such as anthuriums, roses and posies, decorated the tabernacle, and 12 large candlesticks, which represent the apostles, were placed on the steps. By far, the most memorable of all the activities in Malta during Holy Week were the Good Friday processions. An impressive group of statues depicting scenes from the passion of Christ were carried in procession through the towns. These life-size statues were made of either wood or papier-mâché and dressed in rich velvet clothes with real capes and swords. The statues were mounted on platforms elaborately decorated with flowers, olive branches and lights. Local participants dressed in biblical costumes and brought the important characters from the Old and New Testament to life. Children carried banners and tablets with religious quotes. There were also Roman legionnaires carrying spears and shields, these were announcing themselves with trumpets and drums while Roman soldiers in full armor and helmets rode on horseback followed by hooded penitents who carried heavy wooden crosses; other penitents dragged long chains behind them. Accompanying the processions were local bands playing traditional marches and giving the entire scene an almost cinematic feel. Finally on Easter Day the Statue of the Risen Christ was carried out dancing in the village street accompanied by church bells and fireworks. After listening to Holy Mass families and friends gathered together to feast over a great lunch after which children exchanged Figolli (almond cakes) and Easter eggs.
EC Malta held Easter celebrations on Thursday by giving out Figolli and mini Easter eggs at the Reception to all the students and staff. Tours were organised to all the processions and an Easter boat party was also held on Thursday evening.