A brief guide to Malta's History, Culture and Traditions

A brief guide to Malta's History, Culture and Traditions
Updated on
February 15, 2023

Explore the rich and lavish History, Culture and Traditions of Malta and the Maltese Islands, from its religious temples to its picturesque beaches Malta is a mixing pot of excitement and variety.

Malta’s History

The history of Malta and the Maltese islands is rich and extensive, dating back to the dawn of man, with early stone age farmers believed to have inhabited the islands from 5200BC. Malta has been invaded and changed rule many times in it’s history with each new wave of settlers leaving their mark on the island. Is has been under the rule of the Arabs, The Romans, the Knights of St John, The Normans, the French and most recently British. One of the most significant events in Malta took place during the Normal rule, when St Paul shipwrecked on the island, he subsequently brought Christianity to the Island which is still prevalent in the country with nearly 90% of the population being Christian in some denomination. In 1964 Malta regained its independence from British rule and joined the European union as an independent county in 2004.

When visiting the island there are so many fascinating places you can visit to learn about Malta’s history:

  • The Grandmaster’s Palace
  • The Sacra Infermeria
  • St John’s Co-Cathedral
  • Palazzo Falson
  • The Museum of Fine Arts
  • The War Museum
  • St James Cavalier
  • The Mosta Dome
  • St Paul & St Agatha’s Catacombs
  • The Hypogeum, the Temples and Ghar Dalam

National Identity

The Maltese Islands have been invaded and inhabited by so many nationalities that the islanders themselves now have vary varied heritage. Cultural Influences are evident from Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Normans, Sicilians, Swabians, Aragonese, Castilian, the Knights, and the British. Northern Africans also contributed strongly to the development to Malta’s history and official language. Most Maltese identify as being European and although they have strong ties with Europe and the European Union there is a strong sense of National Identity and pride in their new-found independence.


Malta offers a lot more than Sun, Sea and Sand, although there is plenty of that to enjoy. The museums, exhibits and religious temples coupled with the beautiful scenery makes Malta a unique travel destination even for the most seasoned of explorers. Once you have had your fill of the tourist attractions you can move on to a more authentic side of Malta by walking down the narrow side streets of Mdina, join in with the locals and follow the bands in the village fiesta, and if music is your things there are plenty of traditional Ghana bands for your to watch in the café’s as well as contemporary artists.


Malta is a highly traditional and religious country and these beliefs are imparted on the young from birth. Babies are usually baptised soon after birth, in most cases as Roman Catholics or other Christian. The Christening ceremony is one that is celebrated with friends, and family and lots of food, not dissimilar to the size of a wedding party, the Maltese take their Christenings seriously and they are not quiet affairs. On a child’s first Birthday they take part in a tradition known as il-quċċija, during this time the child is encouraged to crawl or toddle towards a selection of objects and pick one. Each object is a symbol of a potential future career and they will usually include Rosery Beads to symbolise a religious calling, a hardboiled egg predicts the child will have a life of prosperity, calculator for a financial career, stethoscope for a career in medicine and so on. Obviously, some of these items have been added since the tradition started in the 18th century, also traditionally boys and girls would be presented with stereotypical gender “appropriate” items but nowadays they would be both have the same options. As a child ages more religious ceremonies are celebrated, one of the most notable is the first Holy communion similarly to the Baptism the child will be dressed in angel-like robes, next comes the confirmation which is usually followed by a big party.

Weddings are also a huge deal in Malta with most people opting for a lavish do, being a Roman Catholic country, most people have strong feelings on only being married once so if you should get it right the first time and celebrate accordingly. Although Maltese Weddings are usually lavish they still follow the traditional format, the ceremony is held in a church followed by a party/ dinner in a hall or garden/ The bride and groom give small tokens of appreciation to the guests, usually including sugar coated almond sweets (Perlini) and food is one of the most important part of the day.

Other traditions/Celebrations

Victoria Day

8th of September, marking Our Lady’s Birth, the end of the 1565 Great Siege, and the day the Italian Navy surrendered during World War 2.

In Guadia and Alarme

Re-enactments of the Grand Bailiff of the order of the Knights fort and Garrison inspection, and of Malta’s rebellion against Napolean’s rule in 1800 are held throughout the year.

Notte Bianca

This is an all-night cultural event in which the museums and historical buildings are free to visit, and events are held across the capital City.

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Facilitating a move to Malta is seamless when you rely on the Welcome Center Malta. Established in 2016 with the sole objective of helping people make an effortless move to the island, Welcome Center Malta aims to reduce the challenges involved in settling, moving and establishing local contacts.