Religion in Malta
If you’re planning on spending some time in Malta sometime soon, there’s one essential cultural factor you might want to know about. That is, religion. Also, it is to be duly noted that religion won’t affect your chances of finding an apartment for rent Malta or have ess fun.

Religion has been a dominating force in Maltese history and landscape ever since the first people came to the islands, and it is still something that can still be witnessed today. Ever since people settled in Malta during the period known as the stone age, they started looking for ways of how to praise, show respect and thank their gods. As early as 3000BC, these people worshipped fertility figures, otherwise known as mother goddesses, such as the Venus of Willendorf.

At around 3600 BC, Malta passed through a very productive period for the people. This is known as the ‘temple period’ which saw the construction of structures connected to their religious beliefs at the time. Although no religious structures specifically related to the pagan religion from these early times were ever discovered, Malta must have hosted such structures. However, they did build a number of temples including Ggantia temple Gozo , the Saflieni Hypogeum, as well as the Tarxien temples, Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. These are fascinating sites for tourists to see. Booking rooms at the ________hotel will leave you just one stop away from these wonders.

At around 870 AD, the arabs arrived in Malta, and would go on to rule the island for the next 200 years. They brought with them, a plethora of different influences to the Maltese culture. These include influences related to language, and customs, as well as religion. Hence, large chunks of the population converted to the Islamic religion.

Today, the Muslim community is limited to a couple of thousands, mainly originating from North Africa and the Middle East. Malta has one mosque which is located in Paola. This is known as the Mariam Al-Batool mosque. It was opened in 1982 and the grounds surrounding the mosque are used as a school for Muslim children. There is also the Imam’s house, a Muslim cemetery as well as the Maltese Islamic Centre.

After the early Arab ruling, the Normans landed in Malta. At this point, the islands became part of the new Kingdom of Sicily. They also brought with them the Catholic Church. From that point onwards, the Maltese started building small chapels all over the island to be able to pray and praise God. This religious influence of the Catholic Church continued on to this day. Interestingly, It is said that there are a staggering 365 churches in the Maltese Islands.

Nowadays, religion is a central theme of public discussion, especially when it comes to a number of social issues such as marriage, IVF, divorce, abortion, and other morality related matters. From a very young age, children are taught religion at school, and most of them attend MUSEUM classes in the evening which prepare them for their Holy Communion as well as their Confirmation. Participation in the church services and events is also encouraged. Several adults also form part of prayer groups, and they attend regular meetings to read the bible and also to pray. Church attendance in Malta is somewhat high. Local parish feasts and larger religious festivals across the country both see a great deal of participation and celebration. Religious education is also quite important in schools, and this of course is primarily in the Catholic faith, although students are allowed to opt out of these religious classes.

However, as a sign of the changing times, Malta held a referendum on divorce in 2011, in which 53% of the Maltese people voted in favor of a new law that would allow divorce, and the Maltese Parliament later approved the law.

Regardless of the decline of religion over the years. It is safe to say that religion will remain a predominant feature in maltese culture in the years to come. Feasts are still continually held during the summer, and they are also attended by the locals, as well as expats, and maltese from other parts of the island.