Have you ever visited Gozo at Christmas time? If you have, you’ll know that Gozo really goes to town with its festive celebrations. For a whole month the island is alive with a heady mix of twinkling lights, nativity scenes, markets, music and lots more.
And this year, the full programme of Christmas activities will be going ahead as the Covid regulations have been fully relaxed. So, if you’ve never experienced a Christmas break on Gozo it’s probably time you added it to your bucket list.
In this blog post we aim to give you a tempting taster of some of the things to do on Gozo at Christmas. The full festive programme can be found at Christmas in Gozo 2022.
The nights might be longer during the winter but here in Gozo we banish the darkness over the Christmas period by putting up lights and Christmas trees, not only in our homes and all the churches, but also in village squares and streets.
Light can also have a sacred meaning on Gozo, particularly in the small village of Santa Luċija. Every year in the middle of December the village puts on a three-day celebration for its patron saint. Saint Lucy is associated with the lengthening days after the winter solstice.
A highlight of the three-day celebrations is the Festival of Light. This involves a parade of young village girls wearing white and carrying candles from the village square to the church. Traditional Santa Luċija buns are baked and fireworks and music complete the spectacle.
Young girls during the Festival of Light, Gozo. Photo credit: Gozo.news.com
When: Saturday 10 December 2022 – 6:30pm
Where: St Lucy Square, Santa Luċija
Christmas trees with a difference
The impressive 19-metre high Christmas tree on Gozo. Photo credit: Gozo.news.com
It wouldn’t be Christmas without some Christmas trees, would it? Fortunately, Gozo has lots of Christmas trees to brighten up village squares and shopping centres.
One of those most impressive and unusual is the 19-metre (62-foot) tall tree made from iron bars, steel wire and more than 4,500 donated glass bottles lit up with 7,000 led lights. First installed in 2020, the tree has become an annual fixture. And last year it was listed by the website European Best Destinations as one of the ‘most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe’.
Where: Our Lady of Loreto Church parvis, Għajnsielem.
Live action nativity and pageants
At Christmas you’ll see hand-crafted nativity scenes all over Gozo
From the end of November through to early January wherever you are on Gozo you won’t be far from a nativity scene featuring a hand-made crib and shelter for the holy family and their visitors. Gozitans have been crafting cribs, or presepju, since the days of the Knights of St John. You’ll see small ones in people’s window and in shops, and bigger ones in village squares.
And if that wasn’t enough, Gozo is proud of its special tradition called Bethlehem at Għajnsielem, a live action nativity that has been going for 13 years now. Located in fields just outside of the village of Għajnsielem, this unique event features a real Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, lots of local people and animals. In January the event concludes with the arrival of the three wise men on donkeys for the Adoration of the Maji.
When: 26 November 2022 – 8 January 2023. For full schedule click here.
Another live event not to be missed is the Christmas Pageant performed in the square at San Lawrenz. Nearly half the population of the village participates in the pageant, which tells the story of Jesus.
When: Sunday 18 December 2022 – 7:00pm
Crib in San Lawrenz Square. Photo: Baron Holiday Homes
Festive cheer at a Gozo Christmas market. Photo credit: VisitGozo.com
Another important part of Christmas on Gozo is our wonderful series of Christmas markets. Throughout December there are many festive markets all over Gozo offering fun and treats for all the family.
Expect to find stalls selling a variety of goods including local crafts and produce as well as food and drink. Most have live music and other entertainment such as live music, carol singing and even artificial ice-rinks. Santa is expected to visit quite a few markets this year.
Gozo’s capital Victoria plays host to a large Christmas market in Villa Rundle Gardens on most days between 2 and 18 December 2022, from 10:00am to 6:00pm.
Other Christmas markets include:
Ta’ Kerċem - Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 December
L-Għarb - Thursday 8 December 2022 to Sunday 1 January 2023
Christmas concerts on Gozo
Christmas concert on Gozo. Photo credit: Christmas In Gozo Facebook Page
Music plays an important role on Gozo at Christmas. You’ll find everything from local acts performing at Christmas markets, marching bands, children’s choirs singing carols, chamber, string and brass ensembles and even rock ‘n’ roll concerts.
Here’s a selection of musical events this Christmas:
Feel the Magic of Christmas - 25th Anniversary Special Edition
When: Sunday 18 December at 8:00pm
Where: Astra Opera House, Victoria
Leone Grand Christmas Concert
When: Friday 23 December at 8:00pm
Where: Aurora Opera House, Victoria
When: Sunday 25 December at 7:00pm
Where: Basilica of St Peter & St Paul, Nadur
Grand Christmas Concert
When: Thursday 29 December at 7:30pm
Where: Ta’ Pinu Shrine, Għarb
Christmas fun on Gozo
Dancers perform in the annual Christmas Parade on Gozo. Photo credit: Ministry for Gozo
The annual Christmas Parade is a must-see if you’re visiting Gozo at Christmas time. It comprises hundreds of dancers, some marching bands, lots of Christmas-themed floats and much joy. It winds its way from Republic Street up to Independence Square, giving you a chance to see all the colourful costumes and characters.
When: Saturday 10 December at 8:00pm
Jack and the Beanstalk
A traditional pantomime with a rock ‘n’ roll twist.
When: From 26 December 2022 to 6 January 2023
Where: Astra Opera House in Victoria
A chance to watch local artisans at work, do some crafting yourself, stock up on Christmas gifts and even meet Santa.
When: Saturday 10 December 2022 from 9:00am to 8:00pm
Where: Ta’ Dbieġi Crafts Village, L-Għarb
So there you have it – a whistle-stop tour of what to expect to see and do on Gozo this Christmas. We hope you’ll come and help us celebrate soon. Many of our Baron Holiday Homes have underfloor heating and real fires and can provide a cosy base for a family Christmas break. See our blog post Escape the cold this winter with the Baron Experience for details.
Ask us for help
Baron Holiday Homes is happy to organise car hire, tours of Gozo, and many other things to do on Gozo for our guests. Just get in touch and we'll tell you all you need to know about walks near to your rental property, special events in villages nearby, and other local information.