Carnival is one of the oldest cultural events celebrated in Malta. During the times of the Knights of the Order of Saint John, Carnival was celebrated in Pjazza San Ġorġ, where you can still find the Ġebla tal-Kukkanja. The Kukkanja is a traditional Maltese Carnival activity in which people would attempt to climb a greasy pole to reach for gifts or flags. Like Carnival 2014, this year’s carnival will also be held in Pjazza San Ġorġ. The Valletta 2018 Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be collaborating on this year’s Carnival festivities.

The opening ceremony for Carnival 2015 will take place on Thursday 12 February in front of Pjazza Teatru Rjal. As part of the inauguration, a Knight shall declare the start of the carnival week, a re-enactment as was done in the Knights’ time, followed by a parade and the Carnival Flag going up, where it shall stay for a week, signalling the duration of the Carnival festivities.

On Friday 13 February, a variety of dance competitions will take place, along with a small defilé.

On Saturday 14 February, a whole day of carnival fun is planned. A children’s carnival will be held in the morning, followed by parades in the afternoon. After 4pm, a defilé in Valletta will take place, followed by colourful floats, dances and maskaruni (large colourful masks/costumes made out of papier-mâché which are worn by a person in a parade). According to Jason Busuttil, the director of the Maltese Carnival, there’s more competition this year when it comes to floats – they’re going to be more colourful and, this year, float makers will be incorporating lights to make their floats luminous.

On Sunday 15 February and Monday 16 February, floats and people will flood the Valletta streets once again, with people in colourful costumes.

Finally, the carnival festivities will come to a close on February 17 February with a final defilé. Like last year, political satire will be incorporated, with two floats dedicated to political satire and satirical maskaruni. In collaboration with the Valletta 2018 Foundation, a Dutch band, made of 17 members, will be brought over to Malta to participate in the local Carnival festivities. The band will complement our style of Maltese carnival effectively as the band is very loud and the band members interact with members of the public, some who enjoy dancing along to the music. Like last year, there will be cultural exchanges with various European countries who celebrate carnival. Last year, the exchange was with Notting Hill in London, UK, this year it’s with Viareggio in Italy. The aim is to promote the Maltese carnival. Last year, a group of Maltese dancers were taken to Notting Hill to perform and participate in the parades.