Maltese Traditions – Il-Quccija

Malta is a small island, and yet its multi-cultural history cannot be denied, since throughout the years it was conquered and influenced by so many civilizations. The Normans, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Turks, the Aragonese (Spanish), the French, and the English, all left their footprints in Maltese culture and traditions, and this mix makes up the unique Maltese habits and customs we know at present.

Il-Quċċija, which could be roughly translated as ‘the choosing’ or ‘the choice’ is one of the ancient old traditions dating back to the 18th century, which is still predominantly popular today. A year after a baby is born, its parents organize a party and invite all the family members and close friends for the gathering. After having eaten traditional Maltese party food, drunk a drink or two and chatted to their heart’s content, the parents prepare a table, basket, or section of the room for the Quċċija. The aim of the Quċċija is to determine or try to prophesy which profession or career the child would have later on in life, depending on which object he or she would pick up from all those offered in the pile.

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This entails collecting and setting out many different items, all reflecting or relating to a particular profession, career or aspect of life. For example, a calculator denotes that the child will become a mathematician, a rosary that he would become a priest, a pen that he would be a writer and a book that he would be learned and wise.

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(photo: Clare Galea-Warrington – https://cgwarr.wordpress.com)

In the past, different items would be set forth for the child to pick up, depending on his or her gender. If the child was a girl, most often the parents prepared a dish or table containing a pair of scissors, meaning that the girl would become a seamstress, cooking items, a ribbon, which if picked, would mean that the girl would be a beauty, corn which denoted fertility, or an egg which used to signify that the girl would have a big and prosperous home. If the child was a boy, the items would reflect totally different professions. A stethoscope would definitely be one of the items, in the hope that the boy would grow up to be a doctor, if he grabbed an inkstand it would mean that he was going to sit for the bar and become either a lawyer or a magistrate, while if he touched a geometry instrument it would mean that he would become an architect or engineer.

Today, the tradition has changed to reflect the society we are currently living in. Careers and professions are no longer subject to one’s gender, therefore usually the same items are offered to the child at the ceremony, be they male or female. The items themselves too have evolved, in reflection of today’s technological aspect. A baby might therefore grab a computer mouse, pointing at a career in I.T, or a credit card, pointing either towards a banking career or at the promise of future wealth.

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(photo: Clare Galea-Warrington – https://cgwarr.wordpress.com)

In the end, there is really no strict list of items which must be presented, and parents tend to let the baby crawl around everyday things which are to be normally found around the household. The object the child touches first, tradition holds, will be a dominant aspect in his or her life.

This small ceremony, apart from being held in the Maltese islands, is also believed to be something of a custom in some remote parts of Sicily, Italy, and Greece.

This article was published on LivingInMalta.com – to read the whole article please go here

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Wanted – GAY MALE BEST FRIEND! Apply here!!

I wish I had a gay-guy best friend!

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Ok, this might sound kinda weird with labeling-overtones, but really, let me explain what I mean.

Yesterday, one of my colleagues, a very extrovert, bouncy, happy-go-lucky and vociferously gay young man, who is also a local media personality, being a singer and an amateur ‘magician’, told me I have ‘nice breasts’. Now, seriously, apart from boyfriends/dates/interested males who wanted sexual favors or other stuff from me, and who appreciated my boobs, but definitely did not use the word ‘nice’ NO FEMALE friend would ever compliment another female on her boobs. Except if she was asked at point blank of course, when she would probably say ‘You have a nice figure’, but not ‘You have nice boobs’.

See, female friends are complicated that way! They try to be friendly and helpful, without being bitchy or pushy, they try to give advice without seeming to, and give compliments while trying at least to appear ‘neutral’, that is to show that the compliment is being given because they really believe it, and not because they like you and are therefore trying to be nice – which is actually most often the case anyways. Female friends walk a thin line, being always aware that the smallest gesture or comment could be classified by the other female as a pointer to envy.

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On the other hand, I have yet to encounter a male, ‘friend’ or otherwise, who is totally honest when he comments about a girl physically. A male would either mutter, flutter and then finally say it’s ‘ok’, lather on lavish compliments in order to get something out of you, twist the question into a joke, or escape the quandary altogether by telling you to ask someone else, since he:
a) is too in love with you to be objective
b) does not know about fashion or ‘things like that’
c) looks at you blankly and ask you what’s different from last time

*SIGH*

A gay male friend on the other hand, would not only be blatantly (and sometimes cruelly) honest, but would tell you why in great detail, while giving you tips on how to improve the situation. He would not jump to conclusions, try to get out of the issue, or be afraid of ‘hurting your feelings’. He would not even think that you might think he’s envious (as most female friends do) or that you are asking merely for him to be nice. Basically, he’d have the honesty of a guy, but the interest in the subject a girl usually has.

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Rant apart – unfortunately I have never been so blessed as to have a gay male bestie (or GMBFF). I had a couple of gay male friends, or acquaintances, and dated a couple of guys who were bi, but it’s not the same thing. A BEST FRIEND has the impetus and knows you well enough to actually be honest and intimate with you, in a way that an acquaintance, obviously, cannot.

Am I just being too optimistic in my estimate or what? 

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