This past weekend was the Malta Carnival, our first one on the island. Though not as big as the Venice or Rio ones, a good time was had by all. This celebration has been ongoing since the 15th century. It was supposedly started by the Knights of St. John (guess they had to keep up with the debauchery of Rome!). It started on Friday and ends tomorrow, just before Lent. The grand parade though was on Sunday. We opted to go to the one happening in Valletta/Floriana as it is not only the largest one. It is also the tamest, more family friendly.
Over in Nadur, on our sister island Gozo, there is the risque one. I have a feeling that this one in Valletta becomes a little more so once the sun goes down, but we didn’t stick around for that. I do know that when l walked the dog at 5AM, there were still teenagers and college students just coming back, a group of them even asked me where they could buy beer at that time of the morning (or is it at that time of the night?). Either way, it gave me quite a laugh! Told them probably from whence they came. Everything closes down at 10PM around here! It is more of a residential neighborhood, despite the fact that it was in the city. Obviously, they were on holiday.
The island has a population of about 412,000 and l think every single person was there. The bus usually takes 5 minutes from our place, this time it was about a 40 minute ride. We spent roughly 3 hours checking out the floats. There were 30 in total, but l think we only saw 6 or 7. It was that hard to fight through the crowds. I finally figured things out and made sure to follow any woman with a pram, amazing how deadly they can be with those things, people tend to move as they see them barreling down :-).
I imagine things are a lot different in Rio or Venice come carnival time. This was more of a friendly, let’s have fun atmosphere, not the let’s get drunk and behave like idiots :-). Therefore, we enjoyed ourselves. I think we are way past the age of all that foolishness ;-).
As you can see, the floats are mostly characters from movies. I think that is also different from most carnivals around the world. Each area or little town has a float that they work on for so many months beforehand, as we saw months leading up to the carnival. They seem to be paper mache from what l could see and feel. I can only imagine how much time and effort went into making these gigantic things. You of course had to have a lot of patience to navigate them down the extremely narrow streets of Valletta, and with all the crowds too.
What do you think of the Malta Carnival? Is it too tame for you ;-) and would prefer the more adult ones with the sexy outfits and lots of drinking?