[WATCH] Carnival extends beyond Valletta this year

As Carnival kicks off next week, revellers can look forward to partying as far as Hamrun, while the traditional qarcilla will be given an LGBTIQ spin thanks to a script by Immanuel Mifsud and a float will depict architects that have left their mark on Valletta

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
30 January 2016, 12:24pm
Carnival Director Jason Busuttil (centre) • Photo Ray Attard
Carnival Director Jason Busuttil (centre) • Photo Ray Attard
Scenes from last year's edition of Carnival • Photo by Darrin Zammit Lupi
Scenes from last year's edition of Carnival • Photo by Darrin Zammit Lupi
Carnival 2016 extends to Hamrun • Video by Ray Attard
Carnival activities this year will not be limited to Valletta but will also be organised in other towns and villages. This was revealed in a press conference earlier this morning, when the programme for this year’s carnival events was launched by the Culture Minister Owen Bonnici, the Executive Chair of Arts Council Malta Albert Marshall, Carnival Artistic Director Jason Busuttil and the Chair of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, Jason Micallef.

Carnival activities this year will not be limited to Valletta but will also be organised in other towns and villages. This was revealed in a press conference earlier this morning, when the programme for this year’s carnival events was launched by the Culture Minister Owen Bonnici, the Executive Chair of Arts Council Malta Albert Marshall, Carnival Artistic Director Jason Busuttil and the Chair of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, Jason Micallef.

In particular, a Carnival Band Parade will take place in Main Street Ħamrun on Sunday 7th February in the morning. Starting at 10:00, this parade will involve the participation of three carnival floats including King Carnival, five bands, the Ħamrun Scouts Group, satiric grotesque masks and dance companies.

There will also be an entertainment stage and a costume competition. Fourteen colourful floats and several grotesque masks will then proceed to Valletta to take part in the parade, which will leave Castille Square and proceed along Merchants Street, St George’s Square and Republic Street.  An elevated platform is being set up at Castille Square; this will be accessible to all and will enable wheelchair users and parents with young children in pushchairs to enjoy the festivities with ease. 

Jason Micallef announced that the V18 has commissioned a carnival float that will depict a number of architects that have left their mark on Valletta – including Renzo Piano, the Italian architect who designed the new City Gate entrance and Parliament building.

The float will be designed by renowned Valletta artist Pawlu Mizzi.

“We were wondering who to commemorate in our float, and eventually decided on architects as they have left a physical mark on our capital,” Micallef said.

Once again, this year’s activities will include the recently revived qarċilla – a carnival farce going back to at least 1760 – which is led by a notary together with a bride and groom, their parents and witnesses. The qarċilla makes fun of contemporary society, using humorous suggestive verse. In this year’s qarċilla written by Immanuel Mifsud, a well-known Maltese author who has just won the National Book Prize with his novel Jutta Heim, the notary will proclaim the marriage between two men.

Festivities which have become an essential and popular part of the Carnival calendar of events will be taking place as usual in the streets of Floriana and Valletta, with St George’s Square being the main focus of activity. These events include the grand défilé as well as competitions for floats and dancing companies. Audiences can also expect new elements which will be introduced in this year’s calendar.

One such event will take place on Sunday afternoon at 14:30, when the show which will take place in St George’s Square will be accompanied by a live marching band. This event is being re-introduced to the festivities after an absence of 20 years. On Saturday evening, festivities will also continue into the night, giving merry-makers the opportunity to keep on celebrating. 

On Tuesday, the grand défilé will come to a close at 21:30. Other events linked to this national celebration will include an exhibition of miniature candy floats, which will also be the subject of a competition between confectioners and hotels. This exhibition can be viewed at Pjazza Teatru Rjal from February 4 to 9. 

Seating will be available for events at St George’s Square. Tickets can be purchased online  from www.ticketline.com.mt. The event will also be covered live on TVM on Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon and Tuesday evening.

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Calendar of events

Thursday February 4, 18:00
Opening Ceremony of Malta Carnival 2016 activities at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta.

Friday February 5, 17:30
Costume Parade along Republic Street, Valletta followed by Dancing Competitons in St George’s Square and carnival défilé consisting of the King Carnival float, Valletta 18 float, satiric floats and Section A Companies in Costumes on Floats.

Saturday February 6, 09:30
Children’s Carnival at St. George’s Square, Valletta.

Saturday February 6, 17:30 
Dancing Competition together with the Grand Défilé  performance at St George’s Square, Valletta.

Various activities will be held in Valletta throughout the day including the Qarċilla representation in St John’s Square, Valletta.

Sunday February 7, 10:00 
Carnival Band Parade in High Street, Ħamrun.

Sunday February 7, 13:00
Carnival Floats Parade at Castille Place, Valletta.  Parade will proceed along Merchants Street to St. George’s Square and then along Republic Street.

Sunday February 7, 15:00
Special Sunday afternoon Carnival Grand Show at St. George’s Square, Valletta.

Monday February 8, 10:00
Dancing Schools Carnival Parade followed by a Dancing Show at St George’s Square, Valletta.

Monday February 8, 16:00
Dancing Competion Programme followed by the Grand Défilé at St George’s Square, Valletta.

Tuesday February 9, 10:00
Dancing Schools Carnival Parade followed by a Dancing Show at  Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta.

Tuesday February 9, 18.00
Grand Finale in St Anne’s Street with the participation of Carnival Bands, floats and general merriment.

Tickets for the St George’s Square event: www.ticketline.com.mt

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...