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This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Maltese Traditions (3) – San Martin

This coming Sunday, the feast of St Martin will be celebrated in Bahrija. For this feast, it is traditional for children to receive a cloth bag filled with various types of nuts, an apple, an orange, figs and  a small sweet-tasting bread known as the bread of St Martin.  It is also customary for children to recite the following rhyme:

Gewz, lewz, qastan, tin

Kemm inhobb lil San Martin.

Which roughly translates to:

Walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, figs -

I sure love St Martin.

Borza ta San Martin (2)

In the past, these bags of healthy goodies would be left at the foot of a child’s bed -  much like we do today with Christmas stockings. This tradition was  slowly dying out but is now enjoying a revival – mainly because children are being taught about this tradition in schools and the ‘borza ta’ San Martin’ (as this little sack is called) is usually sold by schools, with the money collected being donated to charity.

Borza ta San Martin (5)

This weekend, people will descend on the village of Bahrija in droves to participate in the feast to honour the saint and also for the annual Turkey and Agrarian Festival. Since 1953, turkeys are raffled in preparation for the Christmas festivities and proceeds go towards the village and parish of Bahrija.

Bahrija (7)

Location: Bahrija, August 2011

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful seasonal post, Loree.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brilliant that it's being revived and that it isn't replaced with chocolate and junk stuff.

    It reminds me a bit of Saint Nicholas in Germany who brings children goodies like these (not an orange though, but an apple, nuts and a branch of fir tree, maybe a bit of chocolate) in the night of 5 to 6 December!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Loree:
    Something rather similar takes place here this coming weekend but with geese rather than turkeys and without the little gifts of nuts and fruit. It is so good, we feel, that these traditions are not left to wither on the vine.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a lovely tradition and those treats look wholesome and delicious!

    ReplyDelete

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