Easter Joy

Holy Week in Gozo

The Holy week is one of the highlights of the year in Gozo as indeed it is in many places around the Mediterranean. It celebrates the defining moment for the Christianity, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and comes after 40 days of fasting through lent

Lent is heralded by the five days of partying in Carnival, on last fling before the rigours of the traditional fast. It is broken however with two celebrations – Our lady of Sorrow with a number of penitential processions held in various Gozitan villages and the joy of Palm Sunday at the beginning of the Holy Week.

Gozos’ traditions are in many ways similar and shared with those in Malta. Easter comes during Spring, the lambing season. This means that during the lent period, the Gozitan Cheeselets are in abundance floating in their whey. But this is not what the Holy Week in Gozo is all about, there are multitude of reasons to visit to Gozo during Easter time. Holy week is marked impressively. The Maundy Thursday services in the late afternoon lead to the establishment of the beautifully decorated Altars of Repose. These are the resting place for the consecrated hosts through the events of Good Friday leading up Christ’s death on the cross.

The Holy week on Gozo is also a time to visit the Last Supper tables set up in many of Gozo’s villages. Moreover a number of Gozitan parishes also hold Good Friday processions, the focus of which is very much on pageantry. People dress up in costume taking on the role of various Biblical characters. The processions include also the carrying of artistic statues and are accompanied by the slow somber marches of the local band.

Easter morning itself brings another procession this time a more upbeat one in which the statute of the Risen Christ is carried around the streets. In the bright morning light weather permitting, the procession is also accompanied by the band. The solemnity of the occasion is still there. Yet it is all a much more joyous affairs, compared to the Good Friday processions.

Easter Sunday and the Holy week comes to an end with a family lunch. Lamb is of course an ideal meat. The main thing is the togetherness the meal celebrates. A togetherness shared on a small, yet cultural rich and artistic Gozo.