Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta
Gozo Folklore embraces all the Habits and Customs, the Way of Life in all its aspects, Old-time Trades and all Forms of Entertainment such as the simple and healthy Children's Games of long ago.
Street Venor, a common sight in old-time Gozo.
Gozo Folklore may be considered to embrace all the habits and customs of our civilization, all its numerous activities, the quality of the houses people lived in, the dress they wore, the food they produced and ate, their social dealings with one another, their education and religious life, their festivals and amusements, together with beliefs in the afterworld, superstions like the evil eye as well as innumerable other facets of human life.
Maltese and Gozo folklore is concerned with all this. It explores the history, literature, folktales, old wives tales, old-time trades, legends, children's rhymes and games, traditional herbal medicine, nicknames, proverbs, birth and death rituals, feasts, long-forgotten sensational incidents like unsolved murders and old customs from Malta and Gozo.
The Legends that I used to hear as a child include: Zgugina, The Golden Calf, Calypso and Odysseus, and Atlantis.
Lace making in Gozo is still practised although in a much smaller volume than years ago.
Writing this article is making me remember my young days, how we used to play in the streets every evening after school and on Saturday mornings. In those days Gozo was free from cars and we had the streets all to ourselves. We used to have so much fun playing together that our mothers found it very hard to make us quit and go in for supper.
I also remember how every night before going to sleep I used to watch my great-aunts at work making lace (bizzilla) far into the night - - Bless their Souls.
Gozo folklore - - On this small island old customs die hard and this is particularly true in the case of Nicknames and some religious rituals related to superstition like the evil-eye. On the contrary the use of Maltese proverbs in everyday language has completely disappeared.
Gozitan and Maltese families especially in the villages still use and retain their old family nicknames. Sometimes it is easier to locate a person by asking for him by his nickname than by his name or surname.
For example 'where does George -of Antonia- live? Nicknames may have an association to anything: to colours (Joe of the Black), to nationalities (Joe of the English), to trades (Joe of the Shoemaker), to animals (Joe of the Snake) and so on.
Typical maltese balcony, made of wood and closed. Part of Maltese and Gozo national heritage
Nicknames (Laqmijiet in Maltese) may sometimes be funny or sarcastic, like (Joe of the Giant) when Joe happens to be a midget of a man.
Some people choose their own nickname (Joe the Ginger) because of his fair hair but mostly it is bestowed on people whether they like it or not, such as (Josephine of the Bald One).
This is a very interesting aspect of Gozo Folklore and I like to think that this phenomenon pertains to the Maltese Islands alone but I have no idea if this is true or not. In any case nicknames are an integral part of our culture and folklore, like the "Ghana" and a number of simple local products which are still made today in the old-fashioned way.
Folksinging in Gozo, Ghana to guitar accompaniment
'Ghana' means folksinging and is pronounced - Ah nah. It is still practised today but on a much smaller scale than formerly and in Malta more than in Gozo.
Some people today regard the Ghana as 'low' like fit only for the low people and would like to see it die a natural death.
On the other hand there are others who aim to keep the Ghana alive and growing in popularity. This group includes University professors and learned people from all walks of life who believe that the Ghana is an integral part of our folklore.
I sympathise with the latter group of course because I love Folklore.
During an Ghana session there is inevitably a guitar player who 'accompanies' the singer musically . Sometimes there is more than one guitar, one playing some lead notes and 2 or 3 others who do the accompaniment.
When there are 2 or more singers they sing in turn and usually they 'answer' one another. This usually brings a smile to the listeners and onlookers since the singers like to pull each other's leg.
The guitar is at times assisted by a tambourine and a piano- accordion.
Long years ago the Ghana was the main item of entertainment in many occasions especially during Carnival and the traditional feast of St. Gregory. This is also true with regards to brass bands.
Maltese Brass Bands.
Gozo Folklore - Village Festas and Brass Bands
Brass Bands are very common in Malta and Gozo. Almost all the towns and villages have their own Band and its main function is to play band marches during the feast of the patron saint of the village.
The Festa Season is band marches galore. Every week a Festa is held in one village or another in honour of the patron saint. Newly composed band marches are played along the principal streets by the local band and also by bands from other villages who are invited to take part.
A brass band in Gozo is usually made up of 70 to 80 members while in Malta they may top the 100. All the brass bands of the Island take part in national holidays such as at Christmas and the New Year and especially during the 5 days of Carnival in February.
Ladies in a Faldetta, known in Gozo as an Ghonella (On-Knell-Lah)
Another standard item connected with Gozo Folklore is the Astra Folk Group which up to 2016 was managed and directed by a dedicated member of the group.
The photo below is part of the same repesentation held in Palm Street, Victoria in October 2010. It shows another lady making lace.
Lace-making is a traditional art, skill or trade for which Gozo was formerly renowned. Lace making used to help in no small way towards the livlihood of entire families. Girls were taught lace-making from a very early age as well as knitting,sewing and weaving.
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Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta