[WATCH] Nadur Carnival fever: epidemics, politics, and creative celebration

People at Nadur Carnival told us the annual celebration is synonymous with freedom and unadulterated joy

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

Coronavirus costumes were the main feature of the Nadur carnival this year, with people sporting physicians’ clothing, surgical masks and safety goggles to make fun of the influenza strain that has now reached Europe.

The ensemble sometimes featured doctors’ tags, thermometer guns, surgical gloves, and clipboards in the grotesque carnival on the sister island.

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

The main square was bustling with activity and at around 10pm on Friday night, with cars modified to serve as floats started rolling in.

People from Nadur MaltaToday spoke to all described the popular carnival as an integral part of life in the Gozitan village. “It’s in our DNA,” one woman said of the no-holds barred carnival.

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

The menagerie of costumes and floats also featured the perennially popular political issues. Fake cash similar to that seen at protests outside parliament last year bore the faces of former prime minister Joseph Muscat, his former chief of staff Keith Schembri and the former minister Konrad Mizzi.

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

Carnival-goers speaking to MaltaToday said that Nadur offered a creative space for free expression with limited restrictions and the allowance of spontaneity. This, they said, is what made the carnival unique.

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

The scent of street food, alcohol and feast sweets permeated the square. The scent of marijuana mingled somewhere in that concoction too.

Nadur has become something of an annual appointment for Maltese visitors — people we spoke to even compared it to “boring” old Malta and that Nadur offered a wilder experience. “Carnival is boring in Malta. It’s here you can truly express yourself.”

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

Gozitans asked whether the influx of Maltese was changing the carnival for the worse replied in the negative. “The more the merrier, that’s what the carnival spirit is truly about,” they said.

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