October 2012 Event: 'il-Folklor Malti' – Maltese Folklore

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Charles Mifsud Oct 2012Guest Speaker Mr Charles MifsudThe October presentation entitled "il-Folklor Malti – Maltese Folklore" was given by Mr Charles Mifsud, Consul General for Malta in Victoria, on October 16th, 2012.

Mr Mifsud started his presentation by asking the question "What is Folklore?" He came up with several answers. He said that :

  • It comes from periods in history of lack of education. In the olden days few people went to school.
  • The church's influence was at its peak. It had a lot of say in the everyday life of the Maltese.
  • Traditions came down the ages. Some were sound, like medical aspects. For example, for the relief of cough, people drank the water of boiled borage (fidloqqom). The idea behind it was folklore, but the medicinal aspect is real.
  • Rumours: Malta is small and people talk with each other. In no time these rumours spread like wildfire and keep being repeated from generation to generation.
  • People trying to explain a phenomenon. In towns and villages there were certain people who were considered more knowledgeable than others, so they gave their interpretation of the phenomenon. In time, this interpretation became folklore.
  • Punishment like fasting during Lent. It was not mandatory to fast during the days of Lent, but people used to be afraid of not following this rule. They were afraid that there will be consequences in the afterlife.

Mr Mifsud listed an array of traditions and folkloric beliefs on many topics such as :

  • Pregnancy, the evil eye, Christmas, carnival, lent, Holy Week, trades, games music, mourning, feasts and other folklore, like "il-guccija", "l-ghazziela", and shooting stars.
  • Pregnancy, Lent and Holy Week top the list in the number of folkoric beliefs, and with reason. Pregnancy was always shrouded in mystery,whilst and Holy Week were naturally influenced by the church which had a big influence in Malta.

Some traditions and folklore are kept to this day, but most of them have been forgotten.

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