At Christmas we decorate our houses with trees and fairy lights and we celebrate the birth of Jesus but Easter is arguably a more important celebration in the Christian calendar. How has it ended up being about chocolate? One of the main reasons I was attracted to Malta over Easter was the idea that Easter was a big event in their calendar. Although I tried to buff up on the processions before we went I still wasn’t prepared for the sheer scale of the Naxxar Good Friday Procession.
All the way through Lent each village has its own exhibitions of Easter paintings and artifacts, the churches show off their enormous statues depicting the Stages of the Cross and the flags all fly at half mast. On Good Friday itself, the roads in Naxxar are closed as the village prepares to try to outdo the solemnities in neigbouring villages. At about 4pm the procession starts with the first statue being slowly lifted out of the church. The whole mood is quiet and respectful, and it is a great honour to be asked to take part.
Some of the children were so young and yet so well behaved. The procession moves incredibly slowly so they have to stand still for a very long time. Their parents would often walk along beside them and supplied drinks and snacks to keep them going!