The programme for the Carnival celebrations was announced today during a press conference at Pjazza Teatru Rjal addressed by the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Dr Owen Bonnici, Festivals Director Ms Annabelle Stivala Attard, Carnival Artistic Director Mr Jason Busuttil and the Chair of the Valletta 2018 Foundation Mr Jason Micallef.


This year’s Carnival marks the beginning of making a dream come true for the Carnival participants – that of the Carnival Project. Work on the Malta Carnival Experience will start in the coming weeks  after all necessary permits were approved by the Planning Authority. At the moment preparatory work is being carried out.


In his speech during the conference, the Minister said, “it’s a great satisfaction for us that year after year we are seeing innovations and work being built on the successes of the previous years, thanks to the dedication of all the participants and organisers who bring us colour and merriment during these days. As a Ministry and Government we will continue supporting Maltese talent, including those that work on the floats, grotesque masks, masks and costumes, dancers and participants, performers and musicians and all those who take part in the organisation of this feast, all of whom bring us an event which brings us together as a community thanks to their variety of talents. Today Carnival participants are looking forward to the completion of the Carnival Project, which will bring together various artists in their work with the result of giving a breath of fresh air to this annual celebration.”


The Artistic Director explained further on the Carnival Project.

“It’s a process which took three years of meticulous planning and dedication from all those involved. The project is financed from European Union funds (ERDF), which means we have to abide by its rules. The main aim for the Carnival Village is to have activities running throughout the year. You’ll surely hear more about it in the near future.”

He added that in May Malta will also host the annual convention of the Federation European Carnival Cities, which will bring to Malta delegates from over 20 countries. This is the fourth time Malta will organise such an important event.


This year’s Carnival, explained Jason Busuttil, is bringing back to life some old traditions which had fizzled out in the past years. These are mainly the participations of decorated carts and karrozzini as well as band marches. Satire is also on the increase.


“Satire has increased a lot. Since Malta has the EU Presidency, we have a float dedicated to it designed by renowned cartoonist Steve Bell and constructed by the Maltese Carnival participants. Carnival is also spreading into other localities with presentations of the main activities also improving,” said Busuttil.


Festivals Director Annabelle Stivala Attard added, “There is a lot of work to make sure that the Carnival and all talent related to it are strengthened, while giving support to all those involved. We are collaborating with other entities such as Valletta 2018 and Esplora to invest in interactive activities which help everyone feel part of Carnival.”


Jason Micallef, Chairman for Valletta 2018 Foundation added, “TheValletta 2018 Foundation is committed to further its investment in Carnival, particularly in the quality of the activities and the number of activities which are taking place inside and outside of Valletta.”

Carnival will also be celebrated at the Science Interactive Centre in Kalkara thanks to Carnival@Esplora on Saturday 18th February 2017 and Sunday 19th February 2017 daytime.

“Esplora believes that Science is an integral part of everything around us. One of the Centre’s aims is to try to help bridge the gap between Culture and the Sciences within the STEAM field. During Carnival@esplora visitors will be able to experience short expert talks related to the physics, engineering and the mechanics involved to make a carnival float. Two carnival floats will be present on site. Two interactive walk-in workshops will also be offered where visitors will be able to paint on carnival masks, model with clay and explore the chemistry of clay minerals,” said Elton Micallef, Deputy Director for Education & Programme Development at Esplora. For more information, prices and opening hours please visit Esplora’s Facebook page: Esplora Interactive Science Centre.


Carnival starts on Thursday 23rd February in Pjazza Teatru Rjal with an opening ceremony and speeches. Soon after there will be an exhibition of the competing costumes. The next day till the 28th of February there will be a defilè of floats, grotesque masks and dance competitions.

For the first time this year, after Saturday’s activities which end round 8pm, there will be a street theatre performance – ‘B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek’ in St George’s Square, Qarċilla, marching bands and an exhibition of decorated carts and karrozzini.


After last year’s success, Ħamrun will celebrate Carnival on Sunday morning, with at least five bands marching along the streets accompanied by a number of floats.


On Monday and Tuesday dance schools will parade in Valletta’s streets. Carnival will end on Tuesday night with the grand defilé in St Anne’s Street in Floriana.


Carnival will also be celebrated in these localities thanks to their local councils: Zabbar, Għaxaq, Qormi, St Julian’s, Dingli and Naxxar.


Seating will be available for events at St George’s Square.  Tickets can be purchased online from The event will also be covered live on TVM on Saturday morning, Sunday from 2pm till 8pm and Tuesday from 6pm till 9.30pm.


More information


This year’s Qarċilla was penned by Immanuel Mifsud, produced by Joseph Galea and the witnesses for the wedding are Daphne and Glenn. This Carnival tradition, which its first reference dates back to 1760, was renewed four years ago by the Maltese Department (UOM).


B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek Żgur!

The street performance which visited Malta and Gozo on board of an old typical Maltese bus last summer will visit this year’s Carnivals in our capital cities. The cast includes veteran actresses Josette Ciappara and Mary Rose Mallia, with the latter being the bus captain.

The script was written by Simon Bartolo and directed and produced by Sean Buhagiar. The performance will be held on Saturday 25 February at 9pm in St George’s Square and on Sunday 26 February at 3pm on Victoria’s Carnival stage.


Triq it-Taraġ

Artists together with residents from the DuwiBalli area will celebrate and narrate the way of living in this part of Valletta. The residents will collaborate with Italian artist Federica Terracina and Carnival veteran Godwin Scerri to create a merry atmosphere. The activity includes readings of original work by Jean Paul Borg, inspired from stories of people living at DuwiBalli. Photos taken by resident Osea Tabone will be exhibited in the street. All this will take place on Sunday 26 February at 8.30pm and Sunday 27 February at 10am. ‘Triq it-Taraġ’ forms part of ‘Ġewwa Barra’ – a Valletta 2018 Foundation community project. The performance is open to the public.


The Programme


Thursday 23rd February 5.30pm

Opening Ceremony of Malta Carnival 2017 activities at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta


Friday 24th February 5.30pm

Dance competitions at St George’s Square and Carnival defilè consisting of the King Carnival float, satirical floats, grotesque masks and Dancing Companies Floats Section A (tickets at €5)


Saturday 25th February

9.30am: Children’s Carnival at St George’s Square, Valletta (tickets at €5)

3pm: Dance Competition at St George’s Square, Valletta together with the Grand Defilé performance (tickets at €10)

7pm: Hilarious Carnival including the traditional Qarċilla, street theatre performance ‘B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek Żgur’ and a lot more at St George’s Square


Sunday 26th February

9.30am: Carnival Band Parade in High Street, Hamrun

1pm: Carnival Floats Parade at Castille Place, Valletta. The parade will proceed along Merchant’s Street to St George’s Square and then along Republic Street

2.30pm: Special Sunday afternoon Carnival Grand Show at St George’s Square, Valletta (tickets at €12)

8.30pm: Triq it-Taraġ at DuwiBalli, Valletta


Monday 27th February

10am: Dance School’s Carnival Parade followed by a dance show at St George’s Square, Valletta

10am: Triq it-Taraġ at DuwiBalli, Valletta

4pm: Dance Competition Programme followed by the Grand Defilé at St George’s Square, Valletta (tickets at €7)


Tuesday 28th February

10am: Dancing School’s Carnival Parade followed by a dance show at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta.

6pm: Grand Finale at St Anne’s Street with the participation of all carnival floats and general merriment