Gozo is one of those unique places where natural beauty meets a deeply rooted history. Thousands of tourists rave about this Mediterranean paradise, for its year-round sunny and bright days. If there is a stay that you will remember for the light and the good feeling it transmits, for the unique culture and history and for the vivid blue colors of the sky and the sea, it has to be Gozo.
But did you know that Gozo is not just about historic sites, beaches, and delectable cuisines? This small island has a lot to offer to travelers. If you want to have an unforgettable Gozitan experience, be sure to check out the island’s cultural events.
THEATRE AND OPERA
Surprisingly for its size, Gozo has been an active player in the operatic scene for a number of decades. Despite its relatively small population, the island has two opera houses in Ir-Rabat — the Astra Theatre (Teatru Astra) and the Aurora Opera House (Teatru Aurora). These venues host a wide array of performances, but every autumn, they buzz with activity as October approaches with the annual opera season. Two operas are staged in October and one in April, attracting the best local and international talent and, of course, patrons from around Europe that have grown to appreciate Gozo for its unique cultural offer.
If you want to experience Gozo’s opera this year, you might want to check out Tosca, on October 13 at the Aurora Theatre. This Giacomo Puccini’s classic tells the story of a love triangle between opera singer Floria Tosca, painter Mario Cavaradossi, and police chief Varon Scarpia. Other operas that will be presented in Gozo include La Traviata in October and Manon Lescaut in April.
In Gozo, carnival is a big celebration that involves locals of all ages and, increasingly, visitors who are attracted by a weekend of pure fun. Two of the most notable locations for these festivities are the it-Tokk, Victoria’s main square, and the village of Nadur. Typically, carnival celebrations held in Victoria’s are geared for the family and span an entire week, featuring fun activities, such as parades, floats, and street food.
On the other hand, carnival celebrations in Nadur give off a different vibe altogether. This spontaneous carnival features grotesque costumes and masks with party-goers being mostly in disguise. It’s up to one’s imagination how to have fun and be creative with costumes – a peek into the wardrobe and a spark of imagination, can make you fit for the Nadur carnival. It is fun, loud, and hilarious and unlike any other party that you have been to.
Summertime in Gozo is synonymous with vibrant celebrations. In fact, this small island is quite famous for its abundant festivities from May to September. Popularly known as ‘festi’, these events mostly reflect the religious customs. Each town on the island holds its annual festa, dedicated to its patron saint. These celebrations typically last for three days and include religious processions, marching bands, street parties, and firework displays.
If you are heading to Gozo this August, be sure to check out some of its upcoming festi, such as the Feast of St. Lawrence in San Lawrenz, Feast of St. Joseph in Il-Qala, Feast of St. Marija in Ir-Rabat and Iż-Żebbuġ, as well as the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto in Għajnsielem.
This annual event offers a glimpse of Gozo’s cultural and artistic scene. Held every mid-autumn, locals and tourists alike can participate in a rich program of musical and other cultural events. Apart from that, several international conferences take place around the island, with interesting tours of historic sites and art exhibitions.
If you want to learn more about Gozo’s rich history and culture in a fun and vibrant way, be sure to witness this special event, which usually takes place in October.
QALA INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL
This four-day celebration features a wide variety of entertainment for the whole family. From folk music and dances to traditional Maltese weddings, there’s definitely something for everyone. The Qala International Folk Festival is organized by the Qala Local Council and the Qala Menhir Folk Group. Expect to witness authentic Gozitan culture through various local performances and great food. The Qala International Folk Festival is scheduled to take place every year in September.
Just like in many countries, the Christmas season is well-celebrated in Gozo. This is the time of the year when Gozo steps up to celebrate the birth of Christ and the island is lit up with Christmas decorations, traditional crib building in many villages, and a full program of events that leave every visitor spoilt for choice. Gozitans definitely put up a lot of effort to make this event as festive as possible.
Typically, the Christmas season on this island features live nativities, pageants, stage shows, and crib exhibits. The town of Victoria, in particular, is adorned with lights and decorations, adding to the celebratory mood. Choir singing, traditional processions, and the live nativity scene Betlehem f’Ghajnsielem, in Għajnsielem, are highlights of a program that sees Gozo stepping up to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas.
These are just a few cultural events you can enjoy when visiting Gozo. Remember, a perfect getaway is not just about basking in the sun and taking a dip in pristine waters. Be sure to check out these special events when you visit this small island paradise. Gozo’s cultural calendar will give you a better understanding of the island’s rich history and culture and it will reward you with a memorable experience that no other place can.