Carnival, an added attraction for Gozo, spread over twelve days

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carnival2008.jpgThe much welcomed initiative of extending carnival activities over twelve days, including two consecutive weekends, has managed to give yet another regional perspective to the Gozo Carnival that is giving Gozo an added attraction for visitors. The Gozo Regional Carnival this year starts on Friday the 25th of January and continues daily up to Tuesday the 5th of February.

The initiative to extend the Gozo Regional Carnival was first taken by the Gozo Cultural Council within the Ministry for Gozo in 2006, to enable the restructuring of the Carnival organised programme so that activities held in different villages around Gozo could be better followed. The Regional Carnival programme has been devised in a way for local events to be held, as much as possible, on different days and therefore for the several aspects of Carnival to be better appreciated by those wishing to follow the competitions and traditional aspects of this annual celebration.

This is the third time that such a programme is being presented, co-ordinated by the Gozo Cultural Council within the Ministry for Gozo with the collaboration of all Local Councils involved in the organisation of Carnival activities within their localities.

The Gozo Regional Carnival 2008 programme will officially start by a Grand Defile’ through Fortunato Mizzi Street and Republic Street in Victoria, with competitive dancing performed in the purposely set-up enclosure in Independence Square, Victoria, on Friday 25 January. Throughout the following eleven days the island will provide a carnival atmosphere with activities held in several localities. The Local Councils of Xaghra, Nadur, Ghajnsielem, Kercem, Xewkija, San Lawrenz, Munxar, Qala, Gharb and Sannat will all be holding different activities at different days and times.

Besides various competitions involving costumes, dancing, grotesque masks and floats, the organised events will include traditional folkloristic dances as well as a Carnival for school children. On Tuesday the 28th of January, an exhibition about Carnival will be inaugurated at the Banca Giuratale in Victoria. The exhibits were collected from among various children attending schools in Gozo through the collaboration of the Gozo College.

The popular Nadur spontaneous Carnival will also provide a hint of traditional satire during this time.

Commenting upon this year’s organised Carnival programme, the Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono, acknowledged the increase in popularity in this traditional cultural manifestation on the island, while also noting that activities specifically aimed towards children help in fostering further interest in such traditions from a tender age. This augurs well towards the preservation and continuity of our animate cultural heritage. Minister Debono also said that the synchronised organisation of such activities helps to further expose the potential of Gozo as a distinct cultural tourism destination.

Minister Debono said that cultural events have proven their potential of attracting a specific niche of local and foreign tourists to Gozo during the leaner months, and it is for this reason that Government launched the Gozo Attractions Incentive Scheme through a joint collaboration between the Ministry for Gozo and the Ministry of Finance. In addition, Government continues to support tourism to Gozo through several measures, chief amongst which are the several Gozo Channel Co Ltd schemes. All such measures help to address the special needs of Gozo, concluded Minister Debono.

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