Good Friday and Easter are celebrated in Malta in a liturgical and ceremonially prominent manner. On Palm Sunday, one may assist to the liturgical rites that usher in Holy Week. On Thursday evening and Friday morning, churches have their paintings draped over in purple or black velvet. The Maltese folk turn out in their thousands to visit and pray in seven different churches as traditionally observed.
On Good Friday, late afternoon, some 17 different towns and villages commemorate the Passion of the Christ by an organised and very solemn procession of statues. Each of these statues represents a particular episode in the Passion of the Christ and is carried by pallbearers. Between one statue and another (some ten in all) participants are dressed as biblical characters who take part in the procession in a dignified manner. Many processions include men in penitence bearing a cross and sometimes dragging chains as well tied to their bare feet as penitence.
Easter manifests itself in a happier and festive mood. The Statue of the Risen Christ signifies the last act of the Passion of the Christ – Christ triumphant over death. This time all will rejoice to the commemoration that ‘Christ is Risen from the Dead’. Tradition dictates that children carry their Easter pastry (figolla) to be blessed by the statue of the Risen Christ. Easter is a demarcation line in the calendar of Malta’s seasonal calendar as it heralds the beginning of Spring.