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Remembering the Father of Malta's Carnival - Paul Curmi “Il-Pampalun”

Pawlu Curmi, popularly known as "il-Pampalun," has passed away at the age of 92 on Wednesday 8th November. Widely acknowledged as the King of Carnival, Curmi was a familiar and vibrant presence in Valletta, particularly during the carnival season. Donned in vivid colors and a broad smile, he became an iconic figure in these celebrations.

Condolences and memories flooded social media on Wednesday morning as people shared their sympathies and recounted their adventures with Curmi. In 2021, the official carnival poster paid homage to him, and a carnival float was dedicated to him in the same year.

Born on December 12, 1930, Curmi, the youngest of nine boys, married Doris Zarb, and they had two children, John and Carmen. In 1950, he entered the traditional Maltese Carnival celebrations, subsequently establishing his own company, now recognized as the "Paul Curmi & Christopher Caruana Carnival Dance Company."

Beyond his carnival involvement, Curmi engaged in football and regattas, playing with the Valletta Vanguards and contributing to the launch of the Marsamxett Regatta Club.

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici expressed his condolences on social media, describing Curmi as a humble and respectful man deeply connected to culture and the arts. Bonnici emphasized that Malta's Carnival would not be the same without "Pampalun" but highlighted the enduring artistic legacy he leaves behind.

Julie Zahra, the Nationalist Party spokesperson for Culture, bid farewell to the "King of Carnival" and cherished the joyful, humble, and truthful memories she had of Curmi.

Even in his later years, Curmi remained an active participant in the Carnival, making appearances in St George’s Square with dancers he had trained since their childhood. Prime Minister Robert Abela, Partit Nazzjonalista’s Leader Bernard Grech, and EP President Roberta Metsola joined others in saluting Curmi's memory, acknowledging his significant contributions to Malta’s carnival culture.

As news of his passing spread, Valletta residents, Carnival enthusiasts, and public figures expressed their sadness and paid tribute to Curmi's positive impact on the Valletta community through his Carnival involvement. Malta has lost a true artistic force in the realm of Carnival, as Pawlu Curmi 'Il-Pampalun' leaves behind a legacy of creativity and joy.

The funeral held on Saturday, November 11th, drew a large congregation to the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. During the service, Fr. Alex Scerri O.Carm, the rector of the Basilica, delivered a poignant homily in which he characterized that Curmi, was the king of the Carnival, and yet his life was not a mere carnival but one rooted in enduring values.

The church, brimming with attendees, bid a final farewell to Curmi, whose legacy is deeply intertwined with his passion for the Maltese Carnival. Fr. Scerri emphasized that despite Curmi's association with carnival revelry, his existence was grounded in steadfast principles. He shared, "If Pawlu is an icon for the city of Valletta, Pawlu is also an icon of positivity. Pawlu was always happy and made other people happy." Fr. Scerri urged the gathering to emulate Curmi's positive outlook, encouraging everyone to see the goodness within themselves and in their surroundings.

As Curmi's coffin emerged from the Basilica, it was greeted with a resounding applause and the carnival anthem. Wrapped in a Valletta Football Club scarf, the coffin received a warm tribute from various carnival organizations present at the funeral.

Paul Curmi's multifaceted artistic contributions, encompassing creativity, dance, and music, solidify his legacy as an artist. On social media, numerous tributes have poured in, featuring photos and videos commemorating his lively participation in the Maltese Carnival.

photos: Facebook

The Melodija team extends their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends.

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