The catalogue for the current collective temporary exhibition at Il-Ħaġar Museum, Unknown Prescription, number 28 in Il-Ħaġar Gems series, will be launched on Saturday 17 February 2024 at 11:00. The 140 pages catalogue, edited by
Gozo with its megalithic temples predating the Egyptian pyramids, is a land steeped in mysticism. Halloween, with its ties to the natural world, finds a resonance in the spiritual fabric of these islands.
As the crisp autumn breeze sweeps through the ancient streets of Gozo, a mystical energy permeates the air, signaling the arrival of Halloween.
Halloween’s real meaning extends far beyond the commercialized festivities, reaching into the depths of spirituality and ancient traditions. In Gozo, where history and mysticism converge, the celebration takes on a unique resonance. As we don our costumes and carve pumpkins, let’s remember that Halloween is a night to embrace the shadows, connect with our ancestors, and acknowledge the profound mysteries that weave through the fabric of life in these ancient lands.
The Origins of Halloween
Often dismissed as a night of spooky costumes and candy, Halloween carries a deeper, more profound meaning rooted in ancient traditions and spiritual interpretations. In the heart of the Mediterranean, where history whispers through the stones, the celebration takes on a unique significance. Let’s unravel the hidden depths of Halloween and explore its spiritual ties to the enchanting islands of Malta and Gozo.
The term “Halloween” is derived from the contraction of “All Hallows’ Eve,” which refers to the evening before the Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. “Hallow” is an old English word meaning “saint” or “holy person.”
From within the tapestry of ancient Celtic traditions Samhain, (pronounced “sow-in,”) originates from the Gaelic word for “summer’s end,” Samhain marked the culmination of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It carried a profound spiritual significance for the Celts as they believed that during Samhain, the veil between the world of the living and the realm of spirits became thin, allowing the deceased to revisit the earthly plane. Communities would engage in rituals, lighting bonfires to both ward off malevolent entities and honor their ancestors.
Samhain’s essence, with its blend of reverence for the departed and acknowledgment of nature’s cycles, laid the groundwork for what would later evolve into the modern celebration of Halloween. Beyond the superficial scares and ghoulish imagery, Halloween serves as a powerful reminder of life’s cyclical nature.
Ancient inhabitants of Gozo and Malta were attuned to the rhythms of nature, and their rituals often revolved around the changing seasons and celestial events. This potent time symbolizes a time of reflection, transformation, and acceptance of the inevitable cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Embracing the darkness becomes a cathartic experience, allowing individuals to confront their fears and acknowledge the transient nature of existence.
Gozitan All Saints’ Day
On the eve of All Saints’ Day, Gozo takes on an otherworldly ambiance. The local tradition involves families gathering in cemeteries to honor their departed loved ones. Candles flicker in the darkness, casting an ethereal glow on weathered tombstones. It’s a night of remembrance, where the veil between the living and the dead is believed to be at its thinnest.
Gozo’s cemeteries also are given focus and filled with vibrant flowers, as families pay their respects to loved ones who have passed.
Maltese Folklore and the Supernatural
Malta’s rich folklore is replete with tales of mystical creatures and supernatural encounters. From the eerie Kawlata, a malevolent spirit haunting the countryside, to the mischievous Imnarja fairies who dance in the moonlight, the islands are a tapestry of enchanting stories. Halloween becomes a time when these narratives come alive, merging the ancient and the contemporary in a celebration of the mysterious.
Halloween in Gozo is a vibrant affair with lots of local events in the main villages and throughout the bars and restaurants. Most venues go for a spooky makeover and up the anti-on events at this time of year.
Check out our Events pages for what’s going on where.
Now for some Halloween fun!
Dressing up and carving pumpkins is a great way to entertain the family at home, especially little ones but a pumpkin is not the only thing that lends itself to a funny face! Pineapples work well too so we invite you to join in the fun.
Simple, straightforward, and highly effective. Plus the leftovers make for a delicious and nutritious smoothie and (because we like to keep things real) a cheeky tropical Piña Colada.
Here’s the recipe!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Large Pineapple
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife or pineapple corer
- Tray & a Bowl
- A battery-operated candle or tea lights
- Kitchen Roll
HOW TO MAKE
- Adults cut – kids watch!
- Cut off the top of your pineapple around 1-2 inches from the top, leaving the leaves attached. Set aside.
- Scoop out the pineapple flesh then, cut the meat into fours like a pizza as this does make it easier to get it out! This gets a bit messy but that’s half the fun! Save all the flesh for your pina colada!
- Pour out any leftover juice into a bowl and pat the inside dry as best you can.
- Now it’s time to carve the face. If you are a creative type – this shouldn’t be too difficult – but we suggest drawing it on paper first – so you know exactly what you are trying to achieve! Put the pineapple on its side and cut out his or her scary features!
- Keeping the pineapple dry with the kitchen roll, finish your cuts until you feel you have reached maximum weirdness.
- Add your candles or battery-operated alternatives and Bomba! You have a hula-ween work of art!