THE MALTESE FESTA - STREET DECORATIONS

The Liturgical Calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, which opens with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, provides the framework and inspiration for a packed cycle of colourful and engaging festivities. Besides Christmas, Carnival and the Holy Week, the greater part of the remaining year is taken up by parochial festas. The titular, and is some instances one or more secondary, holy patrons of the respective parochial communities provide the spark for spectacular celebrations than can span several weeks. Any self-respecting festa comprises extravagant street decorations, spectacular fireworks and cheerful band marches, let alone a full programme of liturgical services animated by orchestral polyphony inside the richly adorned churches and the solemn parading of the same holy patron’s artistic effigy along the main streets.

 

KNIGHTS' COINAGE

The Knights of the Order of St John were driven out of the Maltese Islands by the French more than 220 years ago, but their legacy is still very much alive. This is particularly true with respect to their coinage, which features regularly in popular proverbs and idioms. Among them is the proverb ħabib fis-suq aħjar minn mitt skud fis-senduq’ (loosly translates to: a friend at the market is better than 100 scudi in the chest) and the idom ‘ma jiswiex Karlin’ (loosly translates to: not worth a carlino, meaning not worth much).

PEASANT COSTUMES

If we had to travel back to the 19th-century, Malta and Gozo would look dramatically different. Apart from the prevalence of pristine countryside and a lesser hectic way of life, one would have immediately noticed a  pronounced distinction between the attire of the city dwellers and the peasant communities. The former followed closely budding trends on the continent, while the latter proved to be staunch traditionalists. Time practically stood still beyond the formidable fortification lines securing the densely populated cities around the Grand Harbour. The agro-economic cycle hadn’t changed for centuries and the peasants were still wearing the same type of clothing of their forefathers.

Gobelins' Tapestries

Having been serving as Malta’s centre of power for some 450 years, the Magisterial Palace at Valletta is home to some of the most opulent ambiences in the Maltese Islands. Every square inch of its walls is covered with frescoes, fine drapes and exquisite works of art to impart a sense of grandeaur. Undoubtedly, the early 18th-century visitors must have mesmerised by the then newly acquired tapestries hanging in the Gran Council’s Hall. Donated by Ramon Perellos y Roccaful as part of his ‘ gioia’ or gift to the Order on being elected Grand Master, these 10 scenes representing exotic flora and fauna from the then newly discovered world. Fortunately, these survived practically intact and are considered the only complete and large format example of the ‘Les Tentures des Indes’ cycle produced by the world famous Gobelins Tapestry Manufactury in Paris.

NEOLITHIC MALTA (Part 4)

Discover how it was to grow up in Neolithic Malta!

Food

Here is a recipe for you to try out! It is based on ingredients that were available in the Neolithic.

Inquisitors' Coat of Arms

Occupying an entire block along Birgu’s main thoroughfare, the Inquisitor’s Palace is one of Malta’s most intriguing monuments. Its Classical Baroque facades enclose a labyrinthine compound that was moulded over a period of some 500 years and is the net sum of a long list of structural interventions to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the successive inquilines, particularly the 61 prelates who served as inquisitors and apostolic delegates to Malta between 1575 and 1798. Their coat of arms are painted on the walls of the piano nobile’s main hall, and apart from showing their Italian roots, shed light on their notable careers after leaving the island.

NEOLITHIC MALTA (Part 3)

Discover how it was to grow up in Neolithic Malta!

School and Work

Make a pottery vessel like the ones made in the Neolithic.

BE THE ARTIST

Online competition for kids up to 16 years

Participants are to upload an image of their creation on the Facebook event page created for each theme. Participants will also be provided with resources to inspire them to create work according to the different themes. Resources may be used to submit creations and artworks or simply as a guideline.

Theme 1 – Prehistoric Temples25 submissions have been shortlisted!

Theme 2 – Traditional Confections19 submissions have been shortlisted!

Theme 3 – Knights Armour (11 May – 24 May) – 14 submissions have been shortlisted

Theme 4 – Pose for Art (25 May – 7 June) – 17 submissions have been shortlisted

Theme 5 – Roman Mosaics (8 June – 21 June) – 4 submissions have been shortlisted

Prize: A number of submissions per theme will be selected and exhibited on the Heritage Malta portal and at MUŻA, Malta’s community art museum, later this year, or in early 2021.

Competition 

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