Christmas is a highly celebrated festivity in Malta and Gozo, both for its religious significance as well as in its more social aspect.
The season is celebrated to its fullest in Malta and Gozo.
Nativity scenes, festive street decorations displays of cribs, carol services and other events are organised in every town and village.
Church interiors are decked out in crimson and altars are adorned with flowers. Every parish organises activities ranging from the procession of Mary and Joseph to carol concerts.
Visiting cribs is a popular activity at Christmas. Some are very artistic and elaborate, with figures moving around mechanically and a degree of detail that comes from hours of meticulous work by dedicated craftsmen.
A Christmas highlight, which is popular for children and adults alike, is the annual pantomime held at the Manoel Theatre. It’s a happy mix of good slapstick humour for children and satire for adults.
Our archive film footage shot in 1965 shows a living nativity crib set up in a village with children taking on the roles of Mary, Joseph and the three wise men.
Father Christmas is then seen arriving in Malta in VIP style on a Royal Navy helicopter, before being mobbed by thousands of excited children.
It seems Rudolph and the rest of his reindeer were given the day off.