Carnival tragedy of 1823

Carnival tragedy of 1823
Ta Giezu Church 14.jpg
Corridor with stairs where the incident took place
Date11 February 1823
LocationValletta, British Malta
Coordinates35°53′46.7″N 14°30′47.8″E / 35°53′46.7″N 14°30′47.8″E / 35.896306; 14.513278
TypeHuman crush
Deathsc. 110

The Carnival tragedy of 1823, also known as the Valletta stampede in 1823, was a human crush which occurred on 11 February 1823 at the Convent of the Minori Osservanti in Valletta, Crown Colony of Malta. About 110 boys who had gone to the convent to receive bread on the last day of carnival celebrations were killed after falling down a flight of steps while trying to get out of the convent.


At the time of the tragedy, Malta was under British rule and experiencing a famine,[1][2] and it had become a tradition to gather 8- to 15-year-old boys from the lower classes of Valletta and the Three Cities to participate in a procession during the last few days of carnival. After the procession, they would attend Mass, and they would be given some bread afterwards.[3][4] This activity was arranged by ecclesiastical directors who taught catechism, and its main aim was to keep children out of the riots and confusion of carnival.[1][5][6]

This activity was organized on 10 February 1823, when children attended mass at Floriana and then went to the Convent of the Minori Osservanti (now better known as ta' Ġieżu) in Valletta where they were given bread.[3][4] Everything went as planned, and the same procedure was planned for the following day.[1][4]

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