Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta
This Page is about Things Maltese and intended for foreign readers actually since it is about things which the locals know (or should know) a lot about.
Maltese dog, 2 mths old Let's start with a cuddly pet - The Maltese Dog
Pliny suggests that the Maltese dog may have taken its name from the Adriatic island Méléda; however, Strabo, in the early first century AD, identifies the breed as originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta and writes that they were favored by noble women.
During the first century, the Roman poet Martial wrote descriptive verses on a small white dog named Issa (in our language meaning Now) owned by his friend Publius. It is commonly thought that Issa was a Maltese dog, and various sources link Martial's Publius with the Roman Governor Publius of Malta, though others do not identify him.
This dog is a small, hardy dog with silky hair. The body is compact, fine-boned, but sturdy and slightly longer than it is tall with a level top line. The chest is deep. The skull is slightly rounded on the top with a moderate stop. The medium length muzzle tapers, but not to a point. The pendant, low-set ears are set close to the head and heavily feathered. The black eyes are large, round and set moderately apart with dark rims. The nose is black with open nostrils. The dog has a silky, single layer coat that is white or light ivory. When kept long and groomed like a show dog, it hangs flat, long over the sides of the body almost to the ground (about 8½ inches (22cm.)) hanging on each side of a center part line and is not wavy, curly or kinky. A lot of owners choose to cut the coat into a short, easy care puppy cut (like in photo above).
It is spirited, lively and playful. Gentle, loving, trusting and devoted to its master. Highly intelligent. Good at learning tricks. Bold and quick to sound the alarm in case of suspicious noises. It is a classical companion dog; graceful and lovable. They do well with other non-canine animals and other dogs. Maltese love to play outdoors. Some like to jump in puddles. May be difficult to housebreak. If you feed them table scraps, they can become picky eaters. Do not allow these dogs to develop Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors, where the dog believes he is pack leader to humans. This causes a varying degree of behavior problems. If the dog believes he is boss, he can be snappish with children and even adults. Do not over-pamper or overprotect these little dogs, for they will become unstable, and some may become jealous of visitors. Maltese who are allowed to take over the house, being boss of the humans can also develop separation anxiety, guarding, and obsessive barking. These are not Maltese traits, but rather behaviors brought on by the way the dog is treated by the people around them. These behaviors will go away when the dog is surrounded by stable pack leaders.
The Maltese Cross
The Malta or Maltese cross, also known as the Amalfi cross, is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller or Knights of Malta and through them came to be identified with the Mediterranean island of Malta and is one of the National symbols of Malta. The Maltese cross was depicted on the two mils coin in the old Maltese currency, and is now shown on the back of the Euro coins, introduced in January 2008.
In the mid 16th century, when the Knights were at Malta, the familiar design now known as the "Maltese Cross" became associated with the island. The first evidence for Maltese Cross on Malta appears on the 2 Tarì and 4 Tarì Copper coins of the Grand Master Jean de la Vallette-Parisot (Grand Master 1557-1568). The 2 and 4 Tarì Copper coins are dated 1567. This provides a date for the introduction of the Maltese Cross.
The cross is eight-pointed and has the form of four "V"-shaped elements joined together at their tips, so that each arm has two points. Its design is based on crosses used since the First Crusade. It is also the modern symbol of Amalfi, a small Italian republic of the 11th century.
In the 15th century, the eight points of the four arms of the later called Maltese Cross represented the eight lands of origin, or Langues of the Knights Hospitaller.
The eight points are said to symbolize the eight points of courage:
* Loyalty * Piety * Generosity * Bravery * Glory and honor * Contempt of death * Helpfulness towards the poor and the sick * Respect for the church
The Venerable Order of St John teaches that the eight points of the cross represent the eight Beatitudes.
I was passing by a souvenir shop this afternoon and I saw their sign saying: Do no leave Malta without a Maltese Cross. I think I quite agree with that :-)
Indisputably the most potent influence upon the Maltese crossroads was exerted by a group of crusading, hospital-building, multinational aristocrats known as the Knights of Malta. The story of this monastic community, originally called "The Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem," begins long before its reign in Malta. The religious fraternity was founded in 1099 before the taking of Jerusalem by the armies of the First Crusade. Only sons chosen from noble European families were offered membership in the exclusive club. As a result of the vast wealth the rich scions brought with them (and later from extensive privateering), the group possessed plenty of resources and lots of prestige.
The wealthy brothers' began by building and managing a hospital for pilgrims in the Holy Land. Later the hospitalers felt obliged to become a military unit. They were needed to defend crusader territory and to protect pilgrims from bandits and gangs of marauding infidels. During this period the brotherhood acquired the status of knighthood.
When the Turks ejected the Knights from their headquarters in Rhodes in 1522, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, gave his military men the choice of Malta or Tripoli as a new home base. The Knights didn't like either choice, but they figured no place could be less hospitable than hot dry Tripoli – they opted for Malta.
In 1530 Charles deeded the Maltese islands to the grand masters in return for a symbolic annual rent of one live bird, a Maltese falcon, which was to be presented yearly to the emperor's viceroy in Sicily. The tribute represented the role the Knights played for Christendom – they served as protective "birds of prey" for the empire.
The religious warriors ruled the Maltese archipelago for 268 years and, in the process, they transformed the small island country. Evidence of the industrious Knights' occupation can be seen everywhere, but most noticeably in the gorgeously carved and faceted architecture of the islands' cities, towns and villages.
Massive stone-walled citadels and battlements, impressive turreted basilicas, and charming, narrow-laned hamlets crown Malta's many hills. Most were built in the 16th century by these authentic knights in shining armour. Multitudes of Maltese crosses, the eight-pointed emblem of the order, were chiseled into golden limestone surfaces, putting the Knights' stamp on the place for all time.
The Maltese Flag
The Flag of Malta (in Maltese: Bandiera ta' Malta) consists of two colours, white in the hoist and red in the fly. Tradition has it that the colours of the flag were given to Malta by Count Roger of Sicily, in 1091. The banner of Count Roger was a chequered red and white flag and he gave a set from this banner.
A key stronghold during the Crusades, much of the heraldry of Malta is influenced by the colours and devices of the Knights of Malta. Their badge was the characteristic Maltese cross, and their arms were a white cross on a red field. From these colours came the red and white shield that was used during Malta's colonial period. In the upper hoist corner (in the canton of the white field) is the George Cross (showing a design of St. George and the Dragon), outlined in red, with the motto "For Gallantry" encircling the cross.
The honour was awarded in 1942 by King George VI to the entire Maltese population, for their exceptional bravery and gallantry during World War II. In 1964, the blue canton on which the cross was originally placed was replaced by a red fimbriation. This flag was adopted upon Malta's being granted dominion status within the British Empire, on 21 September 1964. The dominion of Malta existed until 1971 when Malta became a republic, although the flag remained the same.
The Maltese national flag is unique in bearing a decoration from another country, in this case the United Kingdom.
The civil ensign is entirely different: it shows a red field, bordered white and charged with a white Maltese cross.
The Maltese National Anthem
The Lyrics were composed by the Maltese National Poet - - Dun Karm Psaila while the music was composed by Robert Sammut.
First performed in 1923, "L-Innu Malti" became the national anthem in 1945. The author of the anthem's lyrics, Dun Karm Psaila, (Malta's national poet), was originally commissioned to write a school hymn to already-existing music, written the year before. He thought of the idea of a national anthem in the form of a prayer, to bind together the political parties and the country with the commonality of prayer.
Lil din l-art helwa, l-Omm li tatna isimha,
Hares Mulej, kif dejjem Int harist:
Ftakar li lilha bl-ohla dawl libbist.
Aghti, kbir Alla, id-dehen lil min jahkimha,
Rodd il-hniena lis-sid, sahha 'l-haddiem:
Seddaq il-ghaqda fil-Maltin u s-sliem.
Malta (English Translation)
Guard her, O Lord, as ever Thou hast guarded!
This Motherland so dear whose name we bear!
Keep her in mind, whom Thou hast made so fair!
May he who rules, for wisdom be regarded!
In master mercy, strength in man increase!
Confirm us all, in unity and peace!
Pastizzi are traditional Maltese 'delicacies' made up of diamond shaped pastries filled with either ricotta (pastizzi ta' l-irkotta) or a slightly spicy pea filling (pastizzi tal-pizelli) The pastry is a puff-pastry-like dough that is specially made and which makes them so tasty and pleasing to the eye.
Sometimes pastizzi are referred to as Maltese cheesecakes or ricotta cheesecakes, a slightly misleading term since cheesecakes are usually sweet not savoury like pastizzi. The Maltese pastizzi are actually found in the US, in Australia and Canada, most probably thanks to the Maltese emigrants there!
When I was young we used to buy them for 3d (three pence), that's when in Malta and Gozo we still used British Currency. That was up to 1972 I think. Then we introduced the Maltese Lira equal to 100 cents where 5 cents were approximately equal to the former shilling. The cost of one pastizz in the 70's was maybe 5 cents which in today's currency converts to 2 cents 5 of a Euro.
40 years on, Maltese pastizzi are still very popular and today cost between 45 and 50 cents each, an increase of 1900 per cent. I know of only 1 or 2 bakeries that make them in Gozo, but in Malta there are many more especially in the old town of Qormi, which is famous for its numerous bakeries.
The Maltese Loaf - - Hobza Maltija --
Crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, the Hobz tal-Malti is one of the top types of Maltese food that you must absolutely try once you are on the Maltese Islands.
It is said that nothing compares to Maltese bread!
Best eaten when fresh, the Maltese hobza is served in abundance in restaurants, snack bars and even pubs.
It is baked during the night to be available for consumption early in the morning. The bread can be bought from all supermarkets and grocery stores on the islands.
If you’d like to see how this type of bread is made, visit a local bakery. They are practically in all towns and villages of Malta and Gozo. It is a joy to experience the delicious and inviting aroma of the Maltese hobza in a bakery.
Most of the popular Maltese dishes cannot really be fully appreciated in the absence of a fresh crunchy Maltese loaf. You can’t really miss the local bread … it’s practically everywhere.
Even if you just go for a beer or a glass of wine in one of the many wine bars or pubs, there’s a good chance that you will come across Hobz tal-Malti (Maltese loaf) being served as appetizers in the form of “hobz biz-zejt”.
Hobz biz-zejt are fairly thick slices of Maltese bread soaked with olive or vegetable oil, spread with tomatoes or kunserva (tomato paste), olives and capers, simply seasoned with salt and pepper. A sprig of fresh mint adds colour and more flavour to it.
The Maltese bread is also delicious when toasted and spread with butter, margerine or honey and also ideal for 'bruschetta' and croutons. Sometimes it is also served fried in a little oil.
Famous Maltese Poets
(1) Dun Karm Psaila
Dun Karm, Malta’s national poet was born in Zebbug on the 18th October 1871. His studies for the priesthood led him through courses in literature, philosophy and theology at the Seminary of Malta where his exposure to the great of figures of Latin, Italian, English and French literature – especially Dante, Manzoni and Monti – exercised a lasting influence over him. In accordance with his times, when Malta’s cultural milieu was predominantly Italian, Dun Karm’s early poetry (1889-1912) was solely written in Italian. His Foglie d’Alloro (1896), Versi (1903) and Liriche (1954) bring together the best of his early yet refined Italian verse and reflect no only his deep assimilation of the great masters but also his own versatility in neo-classical metric. This refined academic exercise in the best classical tradition soon gave way to a strong romanticism ushered in by the Poet’s experience at the death of his beloved mother (1909) and the rigorous reforms at the local Seminary (1910) which deprived him of company and support and plunged him in life-long solitude. At the same time (1912) under the influence and at the invitation of novelist Guze’ Muscat Assopardi Dun Karm shifted his medium of expression in favour of his native Maltese tongue, and he penned his first Maltese poem to appear in the very first issue of Muscat Azzopardi’s literary-religious periodical Il-Habib. It was therefore in Maltese that all through his poetic maturity Dun Karm expressed his innermost feelings in superb lyrics. His Maltese poetry (1912-1954) spans some 3343 works which include Malta’s national anthem (1921) and great compositions like ‘Il-Musbieh tal-Muzew’ (1920), ‘Non Omnis Moriar’ (1927), ‘Il-Jien u Lilhinn Minnu’ (1938) which is considered as his masterpiece, ‘L-Oqbra’ a superb translation of Foscolo’s ‘I Sepolcri’, and an impressive number of vibrantly patriotic sonnets.
In recognition of his contribution to Maltese literature Dun Karm was awarded a D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) by the Royal University of Malta (1945) – the first to be granted such an honour. In the following year (1946) he was awarded the Guze’ Muscat Azzopardi gold medal, and ten years later (1956) Queen Elizabeth II decorated him with the insignia of Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
(Copied from www.unescomalte.com)
(2) Gorg Pisani
(English Translation below)
Gorg Pisani jibqa’ maghruf l-aktar ghall-importanza li jaghti lil Ghawdex bhala post sabih u mimli sliem. Waqt li jitkellem dwar bosta problemi socjali u umani, l-ahjar xoghlijiet tieghu huma mnebbha mill-imqades u mill-imkejjen tal-qedem. Aktarx ghalhekk li Guzè Chetcuti jsejjahlu “l-poeta tal-istorja” ghax ghadd gmielu ta’ poeziji li kiteb ghandhom tema preistorika bhal Hagar Qim, Il-Ggantija t’Ghawdex u Ghar Dalam.
Imma kien maghruf ukoll bhala l-poeta taz-zghozija, kif kiteb il-Prof. Guzè Aquilina fl-1945 fil-prefazju tal-ktieb ta’ Pisani, Il-Ghid taz-Zghozija: “Tnehhi… l-waqtiet suwed ta’ qtigh il-qalb jew disperazzjoni, l-akbar motiv tal-poezija ta’ Pisani tibqa’ z-zghozija qalbiena li thares ’il quddiem mimlija hegga u mghaggla fit-tigrija tal-hajja.”
Gorg Pisani twieled fis-6 ta’ Mejju 1909 fir-Rabat, Ghawdex. Mill-iskola primarja tal-Gvern dahal fil-Liceo t’Ghawdex u fl-1935 inhatar l-ewwel surmast tal-Malti fl-istess Liceo. Pisani kien l-ewwel li ghallem il-Malti lill-istudenti tas-Seminarju ta’ Ghawdex u lill-ghalliema Ghawdxin tal-iskejjel primarji.
Fl-1940 dahal jahdem bhala traduttur u aktar tard bhala ko-editur tal-Information Service Bulletin bil-Malti fl-Ufficcju tal-Informazzjoni, fil-Belt. Fl-istess zmien ghallem it-Taljan u l-Malti fl-iskola sekondarja tal-Bniet, fil-Belt u lill-istudenti bniet tas-Sacred Heart f’San Giljan. Gorg Pisani sar Assistent Ufficjal ta’ l-Informazzjoni ghal Ghawdex fl-1942, u hmistax-il sena wara lahaq Ufficjal ghar-Relazzjonijiet Pubblici. Fl-1957 sar l-ewwel Ufficjal ghall-Informazzjoni u baqa’ fis-servizz mal-gvern sa Gunju 1972.
Fl-4 ta’ Novembru 1963 Pisani zzewweg lil Mary Rose Formosa u kellhom tifel li semmewh Paul George li lahaq nutar fl-1985.
Pisani miss bosta ferghat tal-letteratura: kiteb poeziji li gabar f’Il-Ghid taz-Zghozija, Il-Waltz tad-Dellijiet, Melodiji u Kuluri u It-Trijonf tal-Paci; drammi bhal Is-Sengha tal-Imhabba, Apoteosi u Is-Sigriet ta’ Swor Kristina; novelli migbura fil-ktieb Ghoxrin Novella, esejs migbura fil-ktieb Evviva l-Hajja, ir-rumanzi Beraq u Qawsalli u Zerniq fuq l-Gholjiet u kiteb ukoll l-istudji folkloristici Ghawdex Johlom fil-Leggendi.
Pisani rebah ghadd ta’ premjijiet letterarji, fosthom dawk imnedija mill-Ghaqda tal-Malti ghal-Lehen il-Malti u l-Pronostku Malti fl-ewwel snin tat-tletinijiet. Fl-1977 ha l-ewwel post fil-Malta Literary Award ghar-rumanz Beraq u Qawsalli u sitt snin wara t-tieni post bir-rumanz Zerniq fuq l-Gholjiet. Inghata l-premju Città di Valletta fl-1983 u f’gheluq it-tmenin sena tieghu l-Akkademja tal-Malti tatu gieh f’lejla muziko-letterarja.
Gorg Pisani miet fl-24 ta’ Frar 1999 ta’ disghin sena – wara hajja twila mimlija attività fil-hajja kulturali Ghawdxija. English Version
George Pisani is mostly known for the importance he always gave to Gozo as the magical land of peace and quiet. While he talks about the many social and human problems, his best works are based on the prehistoric temples and old-world sites. This is probably why Chetcuti refers to him as the 'Poet of History' since the majority of his poems have a prehistoric theme, like Hagar Qim, Il-Ggantija t'Ghawdex u Ghar Dalam.
However, he was also known as the Poet of Youth as explained in 1945 by Guze' Aquilina in his Preface to Pisani's Book the Celebration of Youth: "removes ..... the dark moments of low spirits and desperation" and the real theme of Pisani's poetry is brave youth full of spirit and energetically participating in the race for life.
Born in 1909 in Victoria, Gozo. Studied at Lyceum Victoria and in 1935 was appointed first Teacher of Maltese. 1940 - Translater and co-editor of Information Service bulletin at Information Office. Taught Italian and Maltese and in 1957 was appointed Information Officer where he remained up to 1972. He married Rose Formosa in 1963 and had one son Paul George who is today a notary public.
Pisani's works include Poems collected in his book 'Celebration of youth', 'Waltz of Shadows', 'Melodies and Colours' and the 'Triumph of Peace' Plays like the 'Art of love', 'Apoteosi' and the 'Secret of Sr. Cristina'; Novels collected in the book 'Twenty Novels', Essays in the book 'Hurray to Life'; Love Stories such as 'Lightening and Rainbows' and 'Dawn on the Hills'; as well as Folkloristic studies like 'Gozo Dreams within its Legends'.
Pisani won several literature prizes including the "Citta' di Valletta" in 1983. He died on 24th February, 1993.
(3) Mary Meilak
(English translation below)
Mary Meilak (1905-1975) hija wahda mill-ftit poeti nisa Maltin u hija meqjusa bhala l-ewwel poetessa Maltija.
Bint Gorg u Mananni, Mary Meilak twieldet ir-Rabat Ghawdex nhar id-9 ta' Mejju 1905. Hadet l-edukazzjoni taghha fl-Iskola Centrali t'Ghawdex. Ghamlet sbatax-il sena tahdem fl-ufficini tal-Gvern izda fl-1942 dahlet ghalliema, xoghol ghal qalbha hafna li damet fih sakemm irtirat, ghoxrin sena wara. [editja] Poetessa
Kitbet l-ewwel poezija taghha, Faxx Nemel, meta kellha 25 sena, fl-1930. Fl-1945 harget l-ewwel gabra taghha ta’ poeziji, Plegg il-Hena, u s-sena ta’ wara Villa Mejlaq, Dawra Misterjuza u Album.
Ippubblikat ukoll gabriet ta’ esejs Nirragunaw u Nitbissmu, tliet novelli: Nokkla Sewda, San Nikola tal-Vinturi u It-Tewmin tal-Birgu, zewg opri u xi operetti. [editja] Mewt
Mietet nhar l-1 ta' Jannar 1975, fl-ghomor ta' 70 sena.
Mary Meilak (1905 – 1975) is one of the few Maltese women poets and is acknowledged as the first Maltese poetess. She is the daughter of George and Mananni and was born on 9th March, 1905. M. M was educated at the Central (Sec School for Girls) in Victoria, Gozo and spent the first 17 years of her career working in government Offices. Later in 1942 she was registered as a Teacher, a job which appealed to her so much and which she kept for 20 years until her retirement. Her first poem, ‘A Line of Ants’ was composed when she was 25 in 1930. Then in 1945 she published her first anthology of poems, ‘Pledge of Mercy’ and a year later ‘Villa Meilak’, ‘A Mystery Tour’ and ‘Album’. She also published a collection of essays, ‘Let’s Discuss and Smile’ and 3 novels: ‘Black Curl’, ‘St. Nicholas’ and ‘The Twins of Senglea’ and other works. Her nephew Canon Joe Meilak (1944 – 2007) is also a well-renowned poet. Mary Meilak died on 1st January, 1975 at the age of 70.
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Although Malta is a tiny republic in the center of the Mediterranean with a population of less than half a million we are proud to have our own Maltese Language - il-Malti.
It is derived from the ancient Phoenician and Arabic tongues and more recently became tinged with Italian, French and English words and phrases.
Not many people are interested in learning Maltese cause they find it difficult at first glance. It is not easy, I admit and not too kind on the ear like Italian which is known as 'la lingua degli angeli'. But all languages are beautiful though somewhat difficult in the beginning. Is learning French easier, par example?. I doubt it.
I have included here a little video about the Maltese Alphabet. You can listen to the pronounciation of the letters.
Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta