Family nuclei changed dramatically over the last few decades. Today, the number of siblings is commonly limited to one or two, but up to three generations ago it often reached and surpassed the two-digit threshold. Married couples were encouraged, or better still pressured, to bear as many offspring as possible. Prospective parents were coached in every possible way and from a very tender age, as betrayed by the apparently innocent game of il-Passju, which challenges participants to ‘gain’ as many babies as possible.
Up to a few decades ago, when our towns and villages were still free from motor vehicles, children used to spend long hours socialising and playing in the streets. The toys at their disposal were few and appreciably crude, but the fun was equally memorable. They were capable of crafting great games by recycling elements from discarded items as epitomised by the traditional game of ring racing.
BUMM BUMM IL-BIEB
Our existence is studded with a succession of rites of passage. These include academic achievements, career progressions and new statuses in society. By and large, marriage is the most determining of these milestones. All candidates wish for a glittering destiny as epitomised by the traditional game ‘Bumm Bumm il-Bieb’.