7th to 11th November, 2018


Wednesday 7th November, 2018
Arrival of Participants.
Representatives of the Friends of the Crib - Malta will be at the Malta International Airport to greet participants. Transfers to the Hotel will be provided by the Organizers at no extra charge.
At the Hotel, our staff will help participants through 'Check-in'.

16.00 hrs    The Hospitality Desk at the Hotel will welcome participants distributing Convention
                   Documents, Information brochures, Identification Labels and a small memento of the event.
                   Other information about the Program, Hotel Facilities, Restaurants, etc will be available.
18.30 hrs    Organizers and staff will welcome participants with a glass of wine in the ATHENA meeting
                   room at the Hotel.
                   Short speeches will welcome participants and announce the opening of the Convention.
                   Afterwards there will be free time for dinner ...  full details at the Hospitality Desk.

Thursday 8th November, 2018
08.30 hrs    Excursion 1   -    VITTORIOSA & VALLETTA 
The Coach will drive us to the gates of VITTORIOSA, a small city to the South of Malta. We shall walk to the city square stopping for a short visit to the INQUISITORS PALACE. Inside we shall have the first taste of Malta's Crib tradition. Walking through the city square we will proceed along the water edge to COSPICUA from where we board the ferry to VALLETTA crossing GRAND HARBOUR.
                   We shall enter VALLETTA via a lift service which takes us to the UPPER BARRACCA. Here we shall have the opportunity to appreciate GRAND HARBOUR its famous fortifications dating back to sixteenth century.
                   Proceeding to CASTILLE SQUARE we walk past the AUBERGE de CASTILLE, which today houses the office of Malta's Prime Minister, on our way to ST JOHN CO-CATHEDRAL, a gem of baroque art and the collegiate church of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem who adopted the eight-pointed cross as the symbol of their eight obligations. Behind its austere facade, the co-Cathedral, which was built during the 16th Century,  houses a richly decorated ceiling and sculptured chapels. One of Caravaggio's outstanding works of art, the Beheading of John the Baptist can be admired in one of the Chapels.
                   We exit the Cathedral onto St John's Square turning into Republic Street towards City Gate. Along the way we shall admire the classic architecture of buildings which housed some of the Auberges of the Knights.  Before leaving VALLETTA we pass by the newly built Parliament House, designed by world famous Renzo Piano crossing the bridge over the ditch surrounding the city.
                    We come next to TRITON SQUARE which takes its name from the large Triton Fountain in the centre.  This square has just been upgraded as part of Piano's project.
                     While saying Au Revoir to Valletta we move on to the GRANARIES in FLORIANA.  Until a few years back, wheat used to be stored in these granaries.
                    Our coach will be waiting for us at the side of the Granaries to take us back to the Hotel where there will be free time for lunch at nearby restaurants. 

17.00 hrs    Departure for Mdina by Coach
The coach stops a few meters away from the main gate of Malta's old capital - Mdina.  Silence will greet us as we walk along narrow streets to the city bastions from where a breath taking view of Malta's country side can be appreciated.  There might be time for a quick coffee before we proceed to the Metropolitan Cathedral of St Paul to enjoy a Concert of Christmas music, featuring also Franz X. Gruber's SILENT NIGHT which this year is celebrating its 200th anniversary.
The Concert is expected to be patronised by H.E. the President of the Republic of Malta.

The Jubilate Deo Choir winner of various local and foreign honours, under the direction of Mro. Christopher Muscat will give a 75 minute concert of
Christmas songs and music featuring works by Maltese composers of international repute.  The young section of the Choir - Pueri Cantores will will join the adult choristers for a final encore.

Friday 9th November, 2018

08.30 hrs     Excursion 2   - RABAT / MOSTA                              
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This is the day entirely dedicated to Cribs.
08.30 hrs    
We return to Mdina to see the City in daytime.
On arrival we head straight to the Cathedral Museum where an exhibition of Cribs will be waiting for our visit.  A complimentary visit to the Museum's halls will follow.  Here we shall admire collections of famous silver and other artefacts. Exiting the Museum there will be time for a free walkabout and souvenir shopping at the attractive shops along Mdina streets.
At a given time, we return to the coach crossing Rabat's main square. We shall then drive to Mosta.  On arrival we visit a small crib museum after which we walk for about 300 meters to visit the Mosta Dome which was lately proclaimed a Basilica dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady.
From Mosta we shall go to
The Porziuncola, a Franciscan Retreat House where we shall spend the rest of the day with the following programme.
On arrival a pasta lunch will be served in a relaxed atmosphere.
A worshop showing the weaving of string and wire flowers (ganutel); Malta lace making, crib construction, 'pasturi' manufacture, an exhibition of cribs by young and old members of the Friends of the Crib - Malta.
In the meantime a miniature mercatino will offer for sale items handmade in terracotta, Malta souvenirs, and other items which you can buy for family and friends at home.

16.00 hrs   Coffee and biscuits will be served before we start our plenary meeting.

Short speeches will tell about Crib traditions in Malta and abroad. Others will describe how the Crib turns strangers into friends.  All these will bring us to the conclusion that in spite of differences or diversities that may exist around us, we can still enjoy friendship; we only need to keep listening to the Angels who, on the first Christmas day sang: "...and Peace on earth to men of goodwill!"
The conference will end at about 18.30 hrs.   We shall all shake hands and toast "Long lasting Friendship" with a glass of wine before moving to the Restaurant where we shall enjoy the main dinner of the Convention with Maltese food specialities, including Malta wines and deserts.

Saturday 10th November, 2018

08.30 hrs    Excursion   -   SOUTH OF MALTA
The first stop of this tour will be at QORMI where we shall visit a mechanical crib which tells the Story of Christ from His birth to His glorious Resurrection after suffering death on the Cross.
We will stop again a few hundred meters away to visit another Crib.  This time it will be a static one, kept in place for the occasion of our Convention.
Our third stop will be in
ZABBAR, where a voluntary group have prepared a collective exhibition of cribs.  In November, Christmas in Malta is normally still in the cupboards, but these enthusiasts have aroused their little statues to bid us welcome!
The last stop of this tour will be in
ZEJTUN.  In a children's home run by the Nuns of the Heart of Jesus, we shall find a large mechanical crib which was built by a Maltese Bishop, Mons Emmanuel Galea more than 70 years ago.  It spreads over an area of approx: 90 square meters and represents the five Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. 

We return to the Hotel.  Free time for lunch at nearby restaurants.

17.00 hrs   Departure for Floriana - The Church of the Holy Cross where Holy Mass will be con-celebrated by Archbishop Emeritus Mons Paul Cremona OP and two Franciscan Priors.

A farewell reception will follow in a Hall nearby.  Drinks and finger foods will be served while commemorative tokens and gifts as well as Au revoirs will be exchanged. 

Return to the Hotel by Coach.

Sunday 11th November, 2018                          OPTIONAL

                    A full day in Gozo.                                                                  
07.15 hrs    Departure for Cirkewwa
08.15 hrs    Board Ferry for Gozo

In Gozo we shall visit a number of Cribs and exhibitions.
In between we shall also visit the Citadel, a walled city where Gozitans took refuge from a Moors invasion some 400 years ago.
Around Noon we shall enjoy a Gozo lunch and then visit some more Cribs before boarding the ferry to Malta at 18.00 hrs.

Our coach will be waiting for us to take us back to the Hotel. Our arrival will mark the end of the Meeting of Crib friends in little Malta.

N.B.  *   Certified Tourist guides will accompany the excursions.

         *   Minor changes to the above Program might be required for Administration purposes.

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