The Federation of European Carnival Cities is an international organisation comprised of a number of global cities that organise carnivals in their respective localities. The organisation was founded in 1980 in Patras, Greece. Malta became a member in 1985 and was one of the principle member countries along with Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and England. Over the years, many other organisations from different countries have joined as official members.
Malta is hosting the 37th convention of the Federation of European Carnival Cities between the 15th and 22nd of May 2017. One hundred sixty delegates are expected to attend the convention, which is being organised by the Valletta Local Council in full collaboration with the Malta Arts Council. Additional assistance is being provided by the Ministry of Justice, Culture and Local Government, the Ministry of Gozo, as well as the local councils of Xagħra and Nadur, Gozo, with the latter organising a special edition of a spontaneous carnival in Nadur on Saturday the 20th of May.
The Federation meets twice-yearly: once around October and November for Dies Natalis – a meeting which commemorates the founding of the organisation – and once during May for an annual convention. The annual convention deals with themes of general interest regarding Carnival activities related to all respective organising members. Additionally, the same convention serves as a cultural exchange agreement. Malta has organised three successful conventions over the years, the first being in May 1987. The second convention in Malta took place in 1995 with a record attendance of 102 participants. It was after this success that Malta, with assistance from the Nadur Local Council, organised the 25th annual convention in May 2005.
The main activities of Malta’s fourth convention are intended for delegates to come together, share ideas, as well as experience some of the culture of Malta and what its Karnival has to offer. As such, on Wednesday the 17th of May, the trailer of this year’s Carnival King will be on display in Freedom Square, Valletta along with a specially constructed trailer for Carnival Malta on the occasion of the Maltese Presidency of the European Council. The trailers will be revealed during an afternoon event following a flag parade of all participating countries of the convention and a press conference in Hastings Gardens at 1 p.m.
The public is also invited to attend an activity organised by the Nadur Local Council on Saturday the 20th May from 8 p.m. onwards in Nadur. Delegates present in Nadur will also be the guests of Xagħra Local Council in Xagħra and Vittoria, where the Ministry of Gozo aims to give the delegates a taste of what the island of Gozo has to offer.
A thanksgiving mass will take place on Sunday the 21st of May at 7.30 p.m. in the Maddalena chapel in Merchant Street, Valletta, which was used for several years as a place where carnival trailers were constructed. Today, the chapel is under restoration to bring it back to its former glory as one of several churches and chapels the capital is widely known for.