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www.visitgozo.com

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Welcome to Gozo and to its year-round, cultural calendar of events. This is a guide through seasons where you can enjoy an unspoilt landscape that transforms itself through natural cycles of raw beauty. Seasons in Gozo, each come with a rich calendar of events, offering an island experience of Gozo’s history and culture, intertwining in a unique programme of the arts. This guide will help you discover Gozo’s

Cover Photo: Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary by Taisia Vlasie, Blonde around the World. GIVE ME GOZO 2019 | WWW.VISITGOZO.COM 2

communities and enjoy a myriad of cultural events in unique venues, for a journey of discovery on an island that surpasses expectations, across seasons.


WINTER Mild sunny winters are one of Gozo’s many blessings. If it is cold, dull or snowing anywhere else in Europe, you can count on Gozo for warmth and bright days. The island can be the perfect winter destination with a choice of health-restoring activities. Climbing, hiking, biking or simply walking in the countryside are ideal from October till April when the weather is mild and not prohibitively hot. For the less adventurous, unwinding in one of the spa facilities around the island is pure therapy for the mind and soul.

Gozo still brims with activities during the winter season. Christmas and Carnival are the two main winter festivals celebrated on the island, with an inbetween cultural calendar that attests to a thriving artistic community. This little island community reinvents itself with every season and winter in Gozo offers a tranquil break that is coloured with one’s choice of cultural events and festivals.

Gozo’s countryside - Photo by Daniel Cilia

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CHRISTMAS, AN ISLAND OF JOY 30 NOVEMBER – 6 JANUARY Christmas on an island like Gozo, with centuries old traditions, is indeed a special time, as communities step up to celebrate this joyful time of year, enliveing their respective traditions. From the illumination of the Christmas lights in Victoria’s main street, to a brimming calendar of events, including religious celebrations, a crafts fair at the Villa Rundle garden, excellent choir singing and the nativity village Betlehem f’Għajnsielem. Homes and streets are beautifully decorated and a stroll along village life will reveal the passion with which many homesteads and local committees alike, celebrate the birth of Jesus. The Gozo Christmas festivities include various spiritual, cultural and fun filled activities to everyone’s delight. Check out the Gozo Christmas calendar on www.christmasingozo.com and wrap yourself with the true spirit of Christmas. Carol singing at St. Augustine’s Church – Photo by Focus Fotos

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CARNIVAL 1 – 5 MARCH Carnival is a colourful and fun celebration in Gozo. For five consecutive days, the island’s intense, natural Mediterranean blue and green are rivalled by the vibrant colours of carnival costumes and floats that meander through the main towns and villages in upbeat mood. Join the locals for five days of revelry, with young and old dressing up in intricate costumes or grotesque masks. Follow the Rabat parades with their floats and rhythmic dance for pure family fun. For an extravagant take on carnival, Nadur village is the unmissable choice. This carnival stems from village tradition and is essentially spontaneous. Here, the purpose of costumes is disguise. Join the party, in a palpable atmosphere of authentic, local fun!

Carnival at Nadur - Photo by Focus Fotos

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WINTER Sun, 20 Jan: Feast of Saint Anthony the Abbot. Activities throughout the day including a dog show and blessing of horses in the morning and the traditional blessing of animals in the afternoon with the particpation of the Victory Philharmonic Society of Xaghra. Location: Victory Square and St. Anthony Square, Xagħra

Tue, 1 Jan: The Gaulitanus Choir musically ushers in the New Year in style with a musical bonanza fittingly featuring a lively and bouncy repertoire. The choir, its soloists and friends will participate under the musical and artistic direction of Colin Attard. Entrance is free. More info on: www.gaulitanus.com Venue: Kempinski hotel, San Lawrenz 1-17 Feb: #Inhobbok. A Valentine’s love-themed programme with several events planned for the whole period. Location: various Sun 3, Feb: The Gozo Youth Wind Band in Concert. During this annual concert a new repertoire is performed following intensive preparations from 50 youths hailing from all over Gozo. More info on: gozowindbandorchestra@yahoo.co.uk

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Sun, 6 Jan: Feast of the Epiphany. The re-enactment of the arrival of the Magi. The wise men come to town on horseback, taking different routes and converging on Victory square and then pay homage to Baby Jesus by offering the biblical gifts – gold, incense and myrrh.

Location: Oratory Don Bosco, Victoria

Location: Victory Square, Xagħra

Location: Villa Rundle, Victoria

9-10 Feb: Valentine’s Craft fair. The fair will feature artisans showcasing and selling genuine handmade goods that would make great gifts for your loved ones.


Sat, 9 Feb: Munxar celebrates the feast of St. Paul’s shipwreck Location: Munxar Square Sun, 10 Feb: Feast of Saint Paul’s Shipwreck in Marsalforn. A solemn procession with the titular statue of Saint Paul along the main streets of Marsalforn. The procession will be accompanied by the Victory Band of Xagħra and Santa Marija Band of Żebbuġ.

1-5 Mar: Spontaneous Carnival Nadur. Celebrated after sunset and attracts thousands of people, many in disguise and relishing a unique, fun experience. Not to be missed! Location: Nadur Square and nearby streets 9-10 Mar: Gozo Weddings Fair. Location: Gozo Sports Complex, Victoria

Location: Marsalforn Sat, 23 Feb: Organised carnival at Munxar. Location: Munxar Square Sun, 24 Feb: Organised carnival at Nadur and Għajnsielem. Location: Nadur Square and Għajnsielem Square

Sat 16 Mar: Queen Meets Coldplay. A spectacular rock orchestral concert following the successful Pink Floyd Concerts, Dark Side over Gozo and Dark Side over Valletta. Queen meets Coldplay is a production of The Gozo Youth Orchestra in collaboration with 7 Star Pyramid Productions through Festivals Malta featuring 2 rock bands Cash & Band and Killer Queen Band, orchestra, backing choir and guest. The best-ever and all-time favourites from Queen and Coldplay will be presented in a spectacle of music, lights and projections. 1-5 Mar: Organised Carnival. Family fun for the young and the young at heart and include a variety of costumes, parades, dance performances, colourful themed floats, hilarious sketches, live music bands, the traditional kumittiva and kukkanja and costume competitions.

Info: gozowindbandorchestra@yahoo.co.uk Location: Aurora Opera House, Victoria

Location: Victoria and various other localities in Gozo 9


SPRING Dream of spring colours where fields of gold, burgundy clover and the blue of the sea meet. Mellow days of soft breezes and a renewed sunlight that arouses an island’s spirit. Welcome to spring, with Gozo’s outdoors at their best. This is the time when the sea is already inviting with its warmer waters, where you can plan longer days of activity and soak in a mesmerising, unspoilt landscape. Spring is the season that heralds

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the first tastes of summer fruit, and a summer spirit bestowed with a village festa programme that is colourful, loud and purely Mediterranean. The Faith and Traditions programme of events steals this season’s limelight but there’s much more to keep you entertained. The Gaulitana festival has become an established event for music and culture lovers


while the newest edition to the spring line-up, Gozo Alive, promises to be as popular as it was in its first edition last year. For so many reasons, spring is indeed the time to visit Gozo. Sunrise over Wied l-Infern - Photo by Daniel Cilia

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GAULITANA FESTIVAL OF MUSIC 9 MARCH – 7 APRIL Now in its 13th edition, the Gaulitana Festival of Music has gained the admiration of music enthusiasts, with a month-long programme of bespoke events across Gozo. Despite its focus on classical music, the festival presents multifarious styles from musical theatre to jazz. Besides, the festival seeks to incorporate other creative art forms (photography, art, dance, literature and installation art), merging them with music. The festival seeks to add value to prime sites of historical and cultural interest, offering patrons the experience of music and beauty in these unique settings. The festival has as its ‘raison d’etre’ the fostering of culture in Gozo. The highlight of Gaulitana is the OPERA+ Weekend, a three-day (Friday 5th – Sunday 7th April) cultural bonanza ending the festival. The main attraction during this weekend is Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. This full-scale opera production will be staged at the Aurora Theatre on the 6th of April. www.gaulitanus.com. Photo by Shaun Sultana

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GOZO FAITH & TRADITIONS 1 – 21 APRIL Easter in Gozo is a special time, when faith and traditions meet, offering a rich experience amidst centuries old activities that have survived generations. Events peak during Holy Week, providing real life reenactments of the passion of Christ. From sorrowful band marches during Holy Week to the festive processions with statues of the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday, programme of events are extensive in all villages. Easter is a time of great cultural importance as it mixes solemn religious rituals with community celebrations and traditions, making this time of year a unique experience for every visitor. Gozo Faith & Traditions - Photo by Focus Fotos

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FIREWORKS FESTIVAL 27 APRIL Fireworks in Malta have a long tradition dating back to the time of the Order of the Knights of St. John. For hundreds of years, fireworks were used as an expression of rejoice on special occasions. This centuries-old tradition is very much alive in the calendar of village festas that take place all over Malta and Gozo, especially during summer. The Maltese Islands celebrate the art of fireworks during the Malta International Fireworks Festival, a three-day event that sees the participation of both local and foreign pyrotechnics. The festival has become one of the main highlights in the Maltese calendar of events and it has grown in popularity both locally and abroad. Gozo will be hosting one of the festival’s nights. A number of local and foreign fireworks factories will be participating in this competitive event, presenting spectacular pyrotechnic displays synchronised to music. Prepare to be dazzled. Malta Fireworks Festival in Xaghra - Photo by Focus Fotos

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GOZO ALIVE, CULTURE IN THE CITY 3 – 5 MAY This three-day festival is one of the most recent events to be added to Gozo’s vibrant cultural calendar. Gozo Alive is a cultural bonanza that combines the creative arts with local culture and history, giving visitors to the island a taster of Gozo’s incredibly active year-round cultural life. The island is renowned for its appeal to a range of people – from the adrenaline adventure seeker to the history buff and the opera lover, to the family with young children – it is an island with many promises, and Gozo Alive revolves around that. Activities will peak on Saturday night when Victoria’s streets and squares will be hosting top local and foreign entertainers, delighting visitors and presenting Gozo in a unique, exciting way.

The Gozo Cathedral facade lit for Gozo Alive Photo by Maggie Bajada

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SPRING 30-31 Mar: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Live Musical). Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph and the coat of many colours, this magical musical, the UK’s longest running, is full of unforgettable songs including Those Canaan Days, Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door To Me. Booking on: www.ticketline.com.mt Location: Astra Theatre, Victoria

Sun, 31 Mar: Annual concert commemorating Freedom Day 9 Mar – 7 Apr: Gaulitana: A Festival of Music (13th edition). The festival features top international and local artists and ensembles in an eclectic programme of events in multifarious styles and genres, including talks and an educational programme. Running for 5 weeks, it is held in various localities around Gozo and ends with an intensive OPERA+ Weekend (April 5-7). Entrance is generally free. More info on: www. gaulitanus.com Location: Various venues around Gozo 20

Location: Independence Square, Victoria 1-21 Apr: Easter Activities, Gozo - Art, Faith and Traditions. A varied programme of events, in Gozo spanning 4 weeks. Look out for the detailed Easter activities brochure closer to date. Location: Various


Sat, 6 Apr: Manon Lescaut (Opera by Giacomo Puccini). This operatic production highlights the OPERA+ Weekend, a 3-day cultural bonanza concluding Gaulitana: A Festival of Music. Manon Lescaut returns to the local operatic stage after an absence of 40 years, while Miriam Gauci returns to Gaulitana to perform the title-role after her absolute success in Madama Butterfly in 2017. Featuring a stellar cast, the production will be conducted by Colin Attard, featuring the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gaulitanus Choir. More info on: www.gaulitanus.com, Online booking: www.teatruaurora.com Location: Aurora Opera House, Victoria Sun, 7 Apr: The 6th edition of the Holy week concert by Fondazzjoni Santa Ċeċilja A.D. 2013 Fri, 12 Apr: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. A number of traditional processions take place around the village cores to celebrate this religious feast. The statue is accompanied by the clergy and the faithful in a procession reciting the rosary and singing hymns while the bands play funeral marches, adding to the solemnity of the occasion. Xewkija parish organises an animated pageant along the old streets of the village. Location: Various villages

Sun, 14 Apr: A children’s pageantry procession representing the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, organised by the Xagħra Vocational Group. In this pageant, a replica in miniature of the renowned pageant of Good Friday, only children under the age of 13 take part. Location: Xagħra 18-19 Apr: A live re-enactment of The Lord’s Supper where actors will portray Jesus sharing his final meal with his apostles before his crucifixion Location: Ta’ Passi Għajnsielem Fri, 19 Apr: Pageant of the passion of the Christ. Location: Chambray, Għajnsielem Fri, 19 Apr: Good Friday Processions. Many people take part, representing characters from the Bible. Others, wearing hoods, carry heavy chains tied to their ankles either to fulfill vows or as an act of thanksgiving to the Lord. The processions are a spectacle of splendid pageantry, faithfully produced to the Gospel’s recount Location: Various villages around Gozo

Sun, 14 Apr: Palm Sunday. The crowd, including children in biblical costumes holding palm and olive branches, meets at the crossroads. Then the parishpriest leads a procession with the people singing hymns, towards the church the doors of which are closed. The doors open when the parish-priest knocks with a cross. Location: Xagħra 21


Sun, 21 Apr: Easter activities. Location: Munxar square Sun, 21 Apr: Hip-Hop Hurray Family Fun on Easter Day. Family Fun day on Easter Sunday with activities such as party games, rides, bouncy castle, crafts, characters, dance, storytelling and so much more!

Sat, 27 Apr: Science in the Citadel. A one-day festival celebrating the best of science and technology innovation, research and practice on the Maltese islands. It’s free, fun and for all the family. Location: Gozo Citadel

Location: Villa Rundle

Sun, 21 Apr: Easter Sunday joy is celebrated within and beyond the Gozo Citadel walls and in various other villages including, Kercem, Nadur, Xewkija, Zebbug, Qala, Xaghra, Fontana and Gharb. The statue representing the Resurrected Christ is paraded with joyful band marches. Sat, 27 Apr: Malta International Fireworks Festival (Gozo Edition). For the fourth year running Gozo has been selected as one of the three Maltese locations to host the Malta International Fireworks Festival. The event promises to be a great spectacle with various fireworks factories taking part and ready to impress the spectators. 22

Sun, 28 Apr: 44th Edition of the Gozo Half Marathon. The Gozo Half Marathon has evolved into one of the main sporting events in Gozo and one of the most craved marathons in the Maltese Islands. This is the only 3-star race in Malta. Registration: www. gozomarathon.org Location: Starts and ends at Xagħra Square


3-5 May: Gozo Alive, Culture in the City. A festival of music, art and culture. A three-day cultural spectacle which will combine creative, cultural and artistic aspects. Location: Victoria and various villages around Gozo Sat, 4 May: Gozo Xterra Trail Run. This unique race incorporates two events, a 50km ultra and a shorter 21km race. The route will take you around the island of Gozo across stunning cliff edges, mystical valleys and amazing beaches in the heart of the Mediterranean. This course is a gorgeous circumnavigation of the island which covers cliff edge single tracks, lush valleys and water courses, seaside salt pans, sandy beaches and rock terrain. In short you will experience the breathtaking scenery the Mediterranean has to offer in one race. Online registration: www.maltaxterrra.com/shop

Sun, 5 May: Feast of Saint Joseph. The procession with the statue of St Joseph is led by the three Confraternities of the parish followed by the clergy and the faithful reciting prayers. The Victory Band will be playing religious marches along the route. Location: Victory Square and nearby streets, Xagħra Sat, 11 May: Concert by National Youth Band 11-12 May: Spring Fair. An artisan Fair where one can find genuine, locally made goods to take home. Includes children’s craft making and fun events. Location: Villa Rundle, Victoria

Location: Ghajnsielem (50km) and Ghasri (21km)

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Sun, 26 May: Feast of St. Paul, Munxar Sun, 2 Jun: Swejjaq, Artisan Market. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the sort of traditional artisan market that used to be held in localities scattered all around Gozo and Malta. Location: St. Lawrence Square Fri, 7 Jun: Re-enactment in Victory Square and a commemorative ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of Sette Giugno Location: Victory square, Xagħra Sat, 8 Jun: Honey & Bee Fest. A fest dedicated to honey and its characteristics, one will have the opportunity to visit several stalls which will be offering various products which are produced from honey. During the day information will be given on the related subject, the production of honey, cultivation of our Maltese bee and agriculture in general. Location: Villa Rundle, Victoria

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Sat, 8 Jun: Bis-Saħħa Wine Festival. An annual event held in Santa Luċija Gozo. Organised by ta’ Klula Cultural Group this event is a festival dedicated to honey, bees and their characteristics. One will have the opportunity to visit several stalls, offering various products which are produced from honey. This traditional festival will take place in the main square of the quaint village of Santa Luċija. Visitors will be able to enjoy wine and traditional food, with live entertainment taking place during the evening. Location: Santa Luċija, Main Square


Sun, 9 Jun: Feast of Corpus Christi, Għasri 12 Jun-15 Jul: Victoria International Arts Festival. A festival of uninterrupted sequence of musical and cultural events spanning five weeks between June and July. Will be including orchestral chamber ensambles of various formations, soloists, choirs, a baroque week and big bands. More info: www.viaf.org.mt

*Jun: RockAstra. One of Gozo’s main springtime music events featuring Victoria’s La Stella Band and a selection of top local artists. This event promises to be a real musical treat. Location: Victoria *Check www.visitgozo.com for updates.

Sun, 16 Jun: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fontana *Jun: Leone Goes Pop. An open-air concert with live music performances by the Leone Band. Pop and rock classics are played with the participation of a lineup of renowned local singers and performers, for an evening of great music. Location: Victoria

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SUMMER Summer is the ideal time to enjoy Gozo’s many beaches and the leisurely way of life that this season brings with it. Just take life at face value, and enjoy a sip of local wine in the traditonal pubs in village squares, places where you can meet the locals and enjoy the laid back way of life. Taking a boat ride around Gozo’s coastline can provide another alternative to simply staying on the beach, and enjoy the crystal clear waters of the

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Mediterranean. Snorkelling is an interesting option and a trip to nearby Comino, taking a boat ride from Mġarr, is highly recommended. Comino still holds a magic of its own, as its sheer limestone cliffs and deep caves were used as a hiding place for marauders and corsairs centuries ago, and provided a setting for many novels and films, including the Count of Monte Cristo. Diving is a mainstay during this period and many choose to enjoy the internationally renowned dive


sites and scuttled wrecks along Gozo’s coast line. The various diving schools in Gozo provide expert and safe guidance for the enjoyment of the unique, underwater environment.

the Qala International Folk Festival and as the day cools down into the long summer nights, there is likely to be a square or two lit up with an event to be enjoyed under the stars.

For those who watch out for cultural events, the Gozo festa season is in full swing during summer while the Victoria International Arts Festival is a feast for the senses. There’s a variety of other events to enjoy, from the Jazz festival held annually at Mgarr harbour to

Aerial view of Ramla Bay – Photo by Franco Tabone

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FESTI Religious celebrations, band marches, statues of saints and angels guarding over communities, fireworks – this is altogether a Gozo festa. The festa season starts as early as May and extends into September, offering a spectacular programm of events through all summer. During the festa season, villages in Gozo take turns to celebrate the feast of their patron saints. Joining a local festa is a unique way to experience the authentic, Gozo life. The following dates, list the 2019 season of the Gozo festi. 26 May: Feast of St. Paul, Munxar 9 June: Feast of Corpus Christi, Għasri 16 June: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fontana 23 June: Feast of St. John the Baptist, Xewkija 29 June: Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, Nadur 7 July: Feast of the Visitation, Għarb 14 July: Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Kerċem 21 July: Feast of St. George, Victoria 28 July: Feast of St. Margaret, Sannat 4 August: Feast of St. Joseph, Qala 11 August: Feast of St. Lawrence, San Lawrenz 15 August: Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, Victoria 25 August: Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, Żebbuġ 1 September: Feast of Our Lady of Loreto, Għajnsielem 8 September: Feast of Our Lady of Victories, Xagħra 15 September: Feast of Our Lady of Graces, Victoria Għarb Village festa– photo by Daniel Cilia. 29


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22ND EDITION OF THE VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL 12 JUNE – 15 JULY For five weeks, Victoria joins the festival cities of the world, with artistes and ensembles from all over the world combining to leave their mark on the soul of the island. The Victoria International Arts Festival, now in its 22nd edition, is not only solidly established on the local scene as a quality Festival of, basically, chamber music, but its fame has overflowed its national boundaries to reach and generate interest in a wide international circle. Top-notch internationally-established artists, together with the best from the local scene, are the order of the day in this five-week long extravaganza of daily concerts, which are also offered to the general public free of charge. Such is the easeful nature of the Festival that the events are attractive and compelling to both the connoisseur and the layman, the teacher and the student, the local and the foreigner. There is something for everyone!

Concert inside St. George’s Basilica, Victoria - Photo by Terry Camilleri

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THE QALA INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL 20 – 22 SEPTEMBER Now in its 14th year, the Qala International Folk Festival has developed into a colourful celebration of cultures through folk dance and music. For a whole weekend, the village of Qala is transformed into a hub of folk activities as the quaint village square is brought to life by a unique intercultural programme, that has grown to attract locals and visitors for its quality entertainment in an intimate, village setting. This is a great opportunity to experience life at a village square while enjoying folk dance, music and traditional food, a true taste of Gozo in all senses. Qala International Folk Festival - Photo by Focus Fotos

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SUMMER Jul-Sept: Mgarr Fridays: Live entertainment by Various artists every Friday

Jul-Sept: Marsalforn Mondays: Live entertainment by Various artists every Monday

Jul-Sept: I love Xlendi: Live entertainment by Various artists every Saturday

Sun, 23 Jun: Feast of St. John the Baptist, Xewkija Sun, 23 Jun: OASI Day Commemorative Celebrations Location: OASI Centre, Victoria

Sun, 23 Jun: Feast of Corpus Christi. A procession with the Blessed Sacrament will be held. Children, girls wearing white robes and boys in the traditional costume, the zimarra, will walk in front of the Blessed Sacrament scattering petals. Along the route houses are decorated with red banners and with plants, in homage to the Blessed Sacrament.

Fri, 5 July: Ħondoq by Night. A popular music festival in its 8th edition that features top local bands and DJs. Ħondoq bay is illuminated by hundreds of flaming lanters and special light effects, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors of all ages to enjoy! Location: Ħondoq Bay, Qala

5-7 July: Beer Fest Location: Mons. De Piro Street, Żebbuġ

Location: Victory Square and nearby streets, Xagħra

Sat, 29 June: Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, Nadur

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Sun, 7 Jul: Feast of the Visitation, Għarb. This religious celebration includes a spectacular infiorata, during which an intricate carpet of fresh flowers with thematic designs, is laboriously laid in the village square. The infiorata is an old Italian tradition, the oldest one originating in Gerano, the twin village of Għarb.


Sat, 13 Jul: Evviva Wine Festival Location: Ta’ Blankas Gardens, Xewkija

Sun, 14 Jul: Feast of our Lady of Perpetual Help, Kerċem

Sun, 21 Jul: Feast of St. George, Victoria

Sat, 27 Jul: Marsal Muzajk

Fri, 26 Jul: Re-enactments to commemorate the invasion of Gozo that took place in July 1551

Location: Marsalforn

Location: Cittadella Gozo

Sun, 28 Jul: Feast of St. Margaret, Sannat 35


Mon, 29 Jul: Opera vs Pop Under the Stars. Following the eleven previous successful editions of Opera vs Pop Under the Stars, The Gozo Youth Orchestra in collaboration with The Ministry for Gozo and Embassy of the United States of America presents the 12th Edition. The first part of the programme will consist of classical and operatic songs and arias, followed by an array of lighter pop arrangements from soundtracks and musicals in the second part. Patrons are invited to an after-concert treat. Info and Reservation: gozowindbandorchestra@yahoo.co.uk

Sat, 3 Aug: DCapitals Live@Cittadella. Open air concert under the baton of Mro. George Apap will feature renowned Maltese and international singers, together with the band’s resident singers Francesca Sciberras, Jolene Samhan, & Fabian Galea. Location: Cittadella Ditch

Location: Courtyard, Ministry for Gozo, Victoria

Sun, 2 Aug: The 4th edition of a concert of original and modern music by Fondazzjoni Santa Ċeċilja with the participation of band and orchestra and a number of solits. Location: Cathedral square, Victoria

Sat, 3 Aug: Gozo Ceramics Festival Location: Xlendi

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Sun, 4 Aug: Feast of St. Joseph, Qala 23-25 Aug: Gozo Film Festival 3rd Edition. Featuring local and international films, aimed at a discerning audience, offering open air screenings in a unique, historical setting. Location: Cittadella

are all showcased during this exhibition. This two-day event is suitable for all ages and all tastes, with family entertainment related to traditional folklore. Location: Villa Rundle, Victoria Wed, 21 Aug: Assumptafest. A musical and vocal concert Location: Żebbuġ Square

Thur, 8 Aug: 3D light mapping show and entertainment Location: St. Lawrenz Square

Sat, 10 Aug: International Youth Day, band concert Location: Xlendi

Sun, 25 Aug: Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, Żebbuġ

28-29 Aug: Fior D’Argenta. A traditional village square dinner in Xewkiija that brings together a village, in a celebration that is animated by music, dance, culture and heritage, culminating in a traditional bonfire.

Sun, 11 Aug: Feast of St. Lawrence, San Lawrenz Location: Xewkija Square

*Aug: Għajnsielemfest. A two-day event organised as part of the local festa celebrations. Location: Ghajnsielem square

Thur, 15 Aug: Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, Victoria 14-15 Aug: The Gozo Traditional Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition. Produce, livestock, Gozo’s artisan work and crafts, locally produced wines, oils and honey 37


*Aug: Delicata Wine Festival Location: Nadur Belvedere

*Aug: 28th Edition of Riflessi Sajfin Festival. Location: Marsalforn

*Aug: International Food Festival Location: Xewkija Square

Sun, 1 Sept: Feast of Our Lady of Loreto, Għajnsielem Sat, 7 Sept: Commemoration of the Great Siege and Second World War. Re-enactment of the Entrance of the Grand Master and of a war air-raid. Location: Victory Square, Xagħra

Sat, 7 Sept: Pyrotechnical fireworks display at inNuffara hill, Xagħra followed by festive marches.

Sun, 8 Sept: Feast of Our Lady of Victories, Xagħra

Mon, 9 Sept: Stage And Proms On The Sea. The Gozo Youth Wind Band (GYWB) within the Gozo Youth Wind Band & Orchestra will present the 5th Edition of the successful spectacular evening originally conceived as a “First” in Gozo, namely the first ever concert practically on the sea. Apart from on-stage lighting effects that will enhance the evening, special submergible lighting features will create a yet more spectacle evening in this renowned picturesque harbour in Gozo. The audience is guaranteed to enjoy a galore of excerpts and medleys from musicals and also classic encores performed in the BBC Proms Final Night held at The Royal Albert Hall. Info and Reservation: gozowindbandorchestra@yahoo.co.uk Location: Mgarr Marina

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20-22 Sept: Qala International Folk Festival. A spectacle of dance, singing, music and folkloristic costumes by local and foreign folk groups. An International Folk Conference will also be taking place. Location: Qala Square

Sat, 21 Sept: Traditions: Wine, Olive Oil & Honey. An evening of entertainment, food, wine and children’s area. A variety of food will be available including roast pig, olive oil and honey delicacies. Features showing productions of wine and olive oil as well as beehive and honey wax displays. Location: Dun Karm Caruana and Salvatur Square, Għasri

Sat, 21 Sept: Independence Day Concert by the Malta Armed Forces Band Thurs, 12 Sept: Rock Legend Concert

Location: Independence Square

Fri, 13 Sept: Jazz Do Festival Location: Mgarr

Sat, 14 Sept: Summer Carnival Location: Mgarr

Sat, 14 Sept: Car Show Location: Mons. De. Piro Street, Żebbuġ

Sun, 15 Sept: Feast of Our Lady of Graces, Victoria 39


AUTUMN The first rains drench the summer scorched landscape and the air turns fresh. The light, the vivid colours of countryside green, Mediterranean blue and sharp visibility, the isolated beaches that can be enjoyed without the crowds – Autumn in Gozo is a promise of beauty to be seeped in. Whether you prefer a steep walk up a hillside, a moderate cycling route or a lazy day at the beach, Gozo will thrill you! It’s also the ideal time to explore

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the villages and their main squares, where you can enjoy local life as it unfolds unhurried, in the simplicity of daily routine. Enjoy a glass of wine or a local ftira, hot from the traditional wood fired ovens in local bakeries. Those who love the sea cannot ignore the call of the fair skies, the deserted beaches and the clearest waters that are still warm for swims. The cultural calendar is in full swing during this season. In October, the two main theatres in Victoria


(the Astra and Aurora opera theatres) present two full scale operas, establishing themselves as key cultural events in Gozo and gaining international critical acclaim. Autumn also sees the staging of the Festival Mediterranea, another established event in Gozo’s cultural calendar. The festival uncovers Gozo in all its facets including classic and symphonic music, archaeology, history, folklore and cuisine.

If you would like to enjoy cultural life in its full essence, with a tranquil island backdrop that offers the benefits of autumn free from the summer crowds, Gozo is the destination.

Sunrise behind Ghar Qawqla – Photo by Daniel Cilia

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FJAKKOLATA – A CELEBRATION OF LIGHT 13 OCTOBER Meander through the country roads and set your eyes on a spectacle of thousands of lanterns (fjakkoli), lit up against the serene Gozo countryside and guarded by the crisp, autumn sky. Welcome to the community of Santa Luċija, that counts less than 30 youngsters and thousands of fjakkoli, that once a year mesmerise visitors with their beauty, in the steps of a religious tradition to honour our Lady of Fatima. The fjakkolata started when the locality still lacked electricity, and the fjakkoli were the only means of illuminating the streets for a religious procession. After the advent of electricity, the fjakkoli were taken away from the hamlet’s streets and lit on the nearby Għar Ilma hill, creating a spectacular sight to behold every October. Drop in the quaint Santa Luċija square to join in the celebrations. Mingle with the locals in the ensuing festive mood, enlivened with folk dance, local food and unique hospitality. This is a celebration that brings out Gozo’s community spirit, that makes a small island, big. Fjakkolata - Photo by Paula Portelli

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THE OCTOBER OPERA MONTH 1 – 31 OCT

Embark on a journey of a month full of activities, with Opera is Gozo. The programme features two fully staged opera productions at the Astra and Aurora theatres in Victoria (ir-Rabat) .

LA BOHÈME 12 OCTOBER Teatru tal-Opra Aurora presents Giacomo Puccini’s 4-act opera La Bohème. The passionate, timeless, and indelible story of love among young artists in paris, can stake its claim as the world’s most popular opera. At first glance, La Bohème is the definitive depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss; on closer inspection, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things – a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbour – that make up our everyday lives. Colin Attard directs the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Aurora Opera Chorus and an international cast. Online booking: www.teatruaurora.com

IL TROVATORE 24 & 26 OCTOBER Astra Opera Theatre presents Il Trovatore, Giuseppe Verdi’s 1853 spellbinder of Opera’s Golden Age. Il Trovatore is a perfect storm of excitement: a poignant human story spiked with ferocious drama and fraught with conflicting deep seated emotions and sharpened resolve. It is a winner from the word go. Verdi created his most glorious music, mixing gallantry with the ethereal, to reach truly astonishing heights. His genius for the dramatic shines forth, undimmed throughout. In ‘Il Trovatore’ he never nods; his flair for the exquisitely melodious never lacks. Il Trovatore is indeed a top crowd puller, as only a few are. Online booking www.teatruastra.org.mt Opera Pagliacci at Aurora Theatre, Oct ‘17 - Photo by Daniel Cilia 45


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FESTIVAL MEDITERRANEA 19 OCTOBER - 30 NOVEMBER Festival Mediterranea is an annual celebration of culture let off at the very heart of the Mediterranean, on the history laden island of Gozo. Mythology has it that the charm of this island aided the most beautiful nymph Calypso to halt Ulysses on his journeys , to lull him, lure him away from his travels for seven mystical years. Today, Gozo’s charm seeks to lure its visitors into a kaleidoscope of events, and the Festival Mediterranea is one unmissable cultural appointment. Organised by Teatru Astra, the festival uncovers the island in all its cultural and artistic aspects. The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the spectacular presentation of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, with a double representation on the 24th and 26th October. Other events feature classical and symphonic music and vocal recitals. The festival offers a programme of events that even covers the wealth of archaeology and history that forms Gozo’s heritage. And the backdrop to this is Gozo’s sheer, natural beauty in warm autumn. www.mediterranea.com www.teatruastra.com Opera Lucia di Lammermoor at Astra Theatre, Oct ’17 Photo La Stella

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KITE AND WIND FESTIVAL 18 – 20 OCTOBER Kites have a fascinating history across cultures. Used in past times as a means to send messages by troops during wars, to measure distances, as a royal sports or simply to give joy to children who had only paper and bamboo sticks to make their own toys, kites have filled skies and hearts alike. Gozo will be giving visitors the chance to experience the joys of this ancient tradition during the third weekend of October, in the second edition of the Gozo International Kite and Wind Festival. This is the right opportunity to reach out for the sky, as kites of all shapes and sizes surf on favourable winds. The festival will be led by traditional and professional kite masters.The Gozo International Kite Festival is a unique event, promising high-flying fun for children and adults. Photo from the Gozo International Kite Festival, 2018 by Paul Scicluna

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AUTUMN Sun, 29 Sept: Feast of Jesus the Nazarene. The Victory Band will accompany the Blessed Sacrament procession. Afterwards a show of music and song, a wine-tasting competition and a Wine and Pizza Party will be held Location: Nazzarenu Square, Xagħra

Sun, 6 Oct: OASI Cup Run. The OASI Foundation believes that sports is key to human well-being and is a scientifically approved tool in preventing substance abuse. OASI Cup Run seeks to encourage people to endorse a healthy lifestyle through physical exercise. The activity will consist of a 10Km run, a 4.5 Km walk and 3 runs for children. Location: Starts and ends in Victoria Sat, 12 Oct: Opera Night, La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini

1-31 Oct: Opera Month. Various activities held throughout the month. Check www.visitgozo.com for updates.

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Tickets and further info in due course on www. teatruaurora.com Location: Aurora Opera House, Victoria


Sun, 13 Oct: Fjakkolata – A Celebration of Light Location: Santa Luċija Fri, 18 Oct: An event to commemorate Dun Karm Psaila - The National Poet of Malta. Location: Ministry for Gozo, Victoria

Sun, 27 Oct: Commemoration of the 1948 tragic shipwreck at Qala aboard a Gozo Channel ferry and the throwing of wreaths at the site of the tragedy Location: onboard one of the Gozo Channel Ferries 2-3 Nov: A band concert and family activities. Location: Munxar square

Fri, 18 Oct: Symphony of lights, a musical concert at Santa Luċija, Kerċem.

Sat, 9 Nov: The 2nd Edition of the autumn concert over a dinner with compositions of modern music by Fondazzjoni Santa Ċeċilja.

18, 19, 20 Oct: Kite and Wind Festival

Location: Ta’ Frenċ Restaurant, limits of Xagħra

Location: Għarb 24, 26 Oct: Opera Nights, Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi Online booking is available on www.teatruastra.org.mt

Sun, 10 Nov: Remembrance Day. Commemorative prayer service and wreath laying ceremony in honour of the victims of the two world wars of the 20th century. Location: Independence Square

Location: Astra Opera Theatre, Victoria 51


Sun, 24 Nov: Swejjaq, Artisan Market, Location: St. Lawrence Square

CHRISTMAS PROGRAMME (STARTING IN AUTUMN) 30 Nov - 6 Jan: Christmas in Gozo. A Varied Programme of Christmas activities for all ages over the festive season in Gozo.

1-23 Dec: Christmas Market. A craft market with beautifully decorated stalls offering great artisan produce and seasonal baked treats. Location: Villa Rundle Sat, 7 Dec: Musical concert under the distinguished patronage of H.E. President of Malta to commemorate Republic Day. On the 13th December 1974 the Maltese Constitution was amended and Malta became a Republic, having Sir Anthony Mamo as its first President. Location: Ministry for Gozo, Victoria

Location: Various

Sat, 30 Nov: Mixgħela tad-dawl. The official opening of the Christmas festivities with the lighting of the many illuminations that brighten up the island during the Christmas period.

Begining of Dec – Sun 5 Jan: Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem Spread on twenty thousand square metres of land, this nativity village takes visitors back in time, in the Judea of 2000 years ago. Combining customs and folklore associated with the Maltese crib.

Location: Independence Square

Location: Ta’ Passi Għajnsielem

Content is indicative of highlights of the Gozo cultural calendar and is not comprehensive of all events. For full details, changes to the original programme and for other unlisted events, please check www.visitgozo.com

13-14 Dec: Carols by Candlelight. A Choral Concert by Schola Cantorum Jubilate. Location: St. Augustine’s Priory, Victoria

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Sat, 21 Dec: Christmas Parade. A Christmas celebration featuring beautiful festive costumes and dancing with the participation of around 200 children Location: Republic Street, Victoria Sun, 22 Dec: a traditional Christmas Pagaent Location: St. Lawrence, Square

14-15 and 21-22 Dec: Christmas events at Xlendi Location: Xlendi Sat, 15 Dec: Children’s World. A Family event where children will be able to meet their favourite animated characters and have fun in a variety of activities. Location: Gozo Sports Complex

Wed, 25 Dec: Traditional Procession with the statue of Baby Jesus. Starting at the premises of the village’s MUSEUM, with children carrying the statue and lanterns. The Victory Band accompanies choir singing. Location: Dun Ġorġ Preca Street to the church, Xagħra Sat, 28 Dec: Christmas Concert - 7th edition by Fondazzoni Santa Ċeċilja Location: St. James church

Sun, 15 Dec: Festival of light. Organised by Fondazzjoni ta’ Klula in honour of the Patron Saint Lucy. The square is decorated with flaming lanterns, bonfire and animated by children carrying candles along a traditional village procession. Location: Santa Luċija Square

Tue, 31 Dec: New Year’s Eve in the City Location: Independence Square, Victoria 53


PUBLIC AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS Tuesday, 1 January

New Year’s Day

Sunday, 10 February

Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck

Tuesday, 19 March

Feast of St. Joseph

Friday, 19 April

Good Friday

Sunday, 31 March

Freedom Day

Wednesday, 1 May

Worker’s Day

Friday, 7 June

Sette Giugno

Saturday, 29 June

Feast of St. Joseph and St. Paul

Thursday, 15 August

Feast of the Assumption

Sunday, 8 September

Victory Day

Saturday, 21 September

Independence Day

Sunday, 8 December

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Friday, 13 December

Republic Day

Wednesday, 25 December

Christmas Day

Photo by Focus Fotos

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