Friday, February 26, 2010

Mosta - Malta

the Mosta church /dome

replica of the bomb

the dome as seen from the inside

the church from the inside

Church of St.Mary, Mosta (northern part of the island). Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and built between 1830's and 1860's the Rotunda was designed by Maltese architect Giorgio de Vasse. The church was built around and over the existing one which then was demolished. The size of it 's dome stands at 40 meters in diameter.

In 1942 during world war 2, the church took a direct hit from a German bomb while more than 300 people were congregated inside for Mass. The bomb pierced the dome and fell to the ground with a bounce but failed to explode. The event has become legendary and is regarded as a miracle. A replica of the 200kg bomb can be seen in the sacristy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Haz-Zabbar - 'Citta' Hompesch'

Zabbar is the 4th largest city in Malta, with a population of 15,000(as per 2005). It was originally part of Zejtun but by time it became an independent Parish. In 1798 it got the name of 'Graziosa Citta Hompesch' from the Grandmaster of the order of St.John who at the time was Ferdinand von Hompesch. This is why Zabbar is also known by 'Citta Hompesch'.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Il-Karnival ta' Malta"

Carnival (Maltese: il-Karnival ta' Malta) has had an important place on the Maltese cultural calendar for just under five centuries, having been introduced to the Islands by Grand Master Piero de Ponte in 1535. It is held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful, ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats presided over by King Carnival (Maltese: ir-Re tal-Karnival), marching bands and costumed revellers.
Carnival has been celebrated in Malta since the 15th century, but it received a major boost in 1535, five years after the arrival of the Order of St John. This started taking place officially in Birgu where a number of knights played games and displayed their skills in various pageants and tournaments.

The Parata Dance
True to an age-old tradition, Carnival was ushered in by the Parata which was taken very seriously both by the knights and the people in general as it was of special significance in the history of this festival.

It was customary for some peasants and later companies of young dancers to gather early under the balcony of the Grandmaster's Palace and wait eagerly until they received formal permission from him to told the Carnival. The most recently appointed Knight Grand Cross would obtain the necessary permission and a proclamation giving the go-ahead to Carnival was immediately read from the Palace balcony.

This was the sign for the general merriment to start, and the companies dressed as Christians and Turks performed a mock fight recalling the Great Siege of 1565. Then a girl representing Malta was carried shoulderhigh and taken around the streets of Valletta. Meanwhile a stone would be hung from the Castellania, or Palace of Justice (now the Ministry of Health, in Merchants Street), as a sign that justice was "suspended" for the three days of Carnival.


The largest of the carnival celebrations mainly take place in and around the capital city Valletta and Floriana, however there are several "spontaneous" carnivals in more remote villages of Malta and Gozo. The Nadur Carnival is notable for its darker and more risqué themes including cross-dressing, ghost costumes, political figures and revellers dressed up as scantily clad clergyfolk.
Traditional dances include the parata, which is a lighthearted re-enactment of the 1565 victory of the Knights over the Turks, and an 18th century court dance known as il-Maltija. The parata, in these days is being held by the 1st Hamrun Scout Group.

Food eaten at the carnival includes perlini (multi-coloured, sugar-coated almonds) and the prinjolata, which is a towering assembly of sponge cake, biscuits, almonds and citrus fruits, topped with cream and pine nuts.

hope you all have a good weekend.