The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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Carnival at Esplora – full steam ahead

Thursday, 8 February 2024, 10:56 Last update: about 3 months ago


Carnival in Malta has been occupying a prominent position on Malta's cultural events' calendar for centuries.  In the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, fancy-dressed revellers paint the town red, as they flock to masked balls, extravagant parties, grotesque-mask contests, and pageants of brightly coloured floats, which parade to the deafening sounds of marching bands, all under the reign of the grand King of Carnival.

From the hustle and bustle of the Valletta streets, one can cross between the Capital and the three Cities by ferry and avail onesself of free public Transport to get a taste of the spirit of Carnival at Esplora, one of Malta's top attractions. The interactive science centre, situated on Kalkara's picturesque promontory is presenting a speckled five-day programme, where visitors of all ages will be able to engage with science through first hand interaction, a series of workshops and science shows. All Carnival-themed activities will be focusing on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) engagement and, this year, paper will play the lead role.

Karta Festa, the name given to this year's programme of events, is reminiscent of times gone by when, in village festas, people used to sprinkle paper confetti from windows and balconies onto the crowds of devotees following a religious procession. In this Carnival edition, the Esplora educational force will be imparting their knowledge on the sustainable use of this resource and how paper can be re-used and reprocessed to upcycle weather-damaged Carnival masks and restore them to their former glory. Through this collective effort, the community will learn to appreciate the benefits of restoration and its co-relation to the sustainable use of resources.

Karta Festa is another Esplora, themed event designed to attract visitors of all ages, and to offer them a unique opportunity to discover the art of paper crafting, how to tinker with papier-mâché and large-scale paper constructions, while exploring the science behind this traditional artisanry. STEAM engagement will be in the driving seat of the 2024 Carnival edition at Esplora. Furthermore, and to embellish the experience, this year's programme will be characterised by Maltese traditional culture, with a focus on sustainability. This approach, of nurturing and preserving what we already have, will undoubtedly serve to tighten the spirit of Esplora's community, and beyond.

Celebrations will kick off on Saturday 10th February and wrap up on Wednesday, 14 February. The interactive science centre will open its doors at 1000am daily and close at 1700hrs.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online from . We invite you to dress up in fancy costume,  and embark on an interactive experience to make this Carnival week one to remember! 

A sneak preview of the programme:

RestawraKarru (Drop-in Activity) - Help the Esplora team fix parts of our Carnival float, while learning the art of papier-mâché using materials such as old newspapers.

KreaKarru (Drop-in Activity) - It is time to use your creativity to design your own artistic piece, which will make up a part of Esplora's own Carnival float, using an unusual material, cardboard boxes.

DIY Paper-making Workshop - Instead of chopping down trees to make paper from raw materials, let's all learn the technique of recycling old and used paper into new sheets.

Code-a-Parade Workshop - Join the Valletta street-parade on the Matata Talebot, create a LEGO Carnival float, and use coding to guide your dance group to designated stops for a lively dancing parade.

Beautiful Bubbles Science Show - Don't we all just love bubbles? It is Esplora's very own show, which never ceases to amaze people of all ages. Join us for a literally colourful and bubbly event to boost the Carnival cheer.

Let's See Colour (Scheduled Activity) - Your little ones can enjoy free play with rainbow blocks, while interacting with the light table, exploring how different colours behave in light;

Face painting - Face painting will be available during this event, to help our young visitors get into the Carnival spirit!

Olaf Mckay is Esplora's senior director


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