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

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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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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Order

In the beaming of the Moon
the stars go on arolling
under his patriarchal eye
healthily aglowing

A stream, a glade, a shallow reef
they all spread out on yonder
beneath his benign fragile gaze
in fearful harmony and wonder

Nothing could ever break that look
surrounding them, so strictly
Nothing could ever distort the order
regimenting them so thickly

For his stern paternal gaze
is what keeps them in line
willy-nilly, it’s always there
ever controlling their shine

For what would happen without the Moon
in the dark of the endless sky?
What would the twinkling stars do
all alone up above so high?

How could their light reach over it all
with no shepherd there to guide them?
How could they find the way to go
with no sergeant to deride them?

It would be chaos! It would be wild!
There would be no end to it!
How they would dance, jump and cavort
for sure the globe would be too brightly lit!

No no, such things are not to happen
no play or song, no laughter or brightness, ever
The Moon is there as it has always been
Set the clock, turn around, yes forever

©M.A

 

Today I can vote…

Today I can own property. I have the right to decide whom to marry. I have the right to work and earn an income. I have the right to go to school. I have the right to take my own decisions. I have the right to be heard and to make a difference.

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It was not always like this.

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I wish to thanks all those women without whom this would not be possible. All those women whose struggles throughout the years have made it possible for me to be here, in my comfortable office, writing on my pc, earning a good wage, after having attended university, and looking forward to buying my own house soon.

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I would also like to send all my thoughts and love to all those women in other countries, in other cultures, who are still fighting their own struggle. Still being persecuted. Still living a nightmare. Just because of their gender.

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Yesterday was Women’s International Day.

If you don’t know why it is so important, please read my article published here, and think again http://www.eve.com.mt/2015/03/08/8th-march-international-womens-day-why-all-the-hatred/

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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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Women = You are a Blatant Disappointment!

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150226/local/fifty-shades-of-grey-breaking-local-records.557723

Really? Are most Maltese women as misguided and bereft of any kind of intimacy as all that? This novel/movie is wrong on so many levels that I really don’t know where to start. Let me at least try to scratch the surface:

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1. The writing is CRAP. As a book-lover and writer with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Masters in English Contemporary Literature, I can say this with professional and experienced detachment – it is TURDS ON TOAST, and that’s that.

2. It was originally written as a fan-fic of Twilight… which says it all. Love Twilight? Love soft-porn? Here you got a mixture of the two!

3. It’s not even real BDSM!! And believe me, I know what I’m saying! The novel is about a girl who doesn’t know her cunt from her ass, meeting a ‘pshycologically hurt’, not to mention inept, guy, who thinks he wants to play Master, while all he wants is a girlfriend without the title.

4. It wrongly promotes the idea that people who find BDSM kinky and titillating, like it because they are emotionally disturbed in some way. That they get excited by whips and leather because there is some big dark secret pointing towards neglect or violence in their childhood or youth = WRONG

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What does the fact that it is such a big success say about Maltese women and women in general??

1. These women know NOTHING about BDSM.

2. They know nothing about REAL RELATIONSHIPS, or the ups and downs one really encounters when trying to build something permanent with a partner.

3. They are starved for sex.

4. They haven’t got past the ‘I’m a 14-year old gushy gushy oh-so-innocent version of femininity just waiting to be plucked’ stage.

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5. They know nothing about literature, realistic plot-lines, characterization and they know NOTHING of the human psyche!

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Don’t like my summary? Bite me!

And yes I have obviously read the the book… tried to must be more like it. The cheesiness, and plain stupidity in every page made me want the vomit. Point being – I don’t write about or criticize something I know nothing about, which is why I made the effort. I wasted hours of my life and numbed my brain for THIS.

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Fortunately for the ‘author’ (for want of a better word) many people don’t need to numb their brains to accept and ‘love’ this story, since their consciousness seems to be naturally numb already.

The Pope says that Trans people ‘destroy creation’ and compares them to Nuclear Weapons…

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danthropology/2015/02/pope-francis-says-trans-people-destroy-creation-and-compares-them-to-nuclear-weapons/?utm_content=buffer4f603&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

And this is a religion which prides itself on promoting the precepts of love and tolerance?

Seriously… the mind boggles…

Prospective Employers checking out your Facebook!!

Have you ever been told off at work for something you said or posted on Facebook or another social media?

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Yesterday an article of mine was published – can be read here:

http://www.eve.com.mt/2015/02/18/sexy-or-slutty-if-you-have-it-flaunt-it-right/

The article is about how different people can perceive ‘sexy’ and ‘slutty’, since these two terms are entirely subjective. That is, what is sexy for me, may appear slutty to my neighbour, and vice versa for example. It is also about the importance of posting and uploading certain things on Facebook, and the consequences of this.

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I know for a fact that most employers in Malta check a person’s Facebook and anything they can find on him/her online, before interviews, therefore fair or not, some employers DO judge a prospective employee basing their judgment in part on their social life, and behaviour in general, and not just on the prospective employee’s professionality or how much they know the job.

Is that right?

To be honest, I am of two minds about this.

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If an employer is searching for the best candidate for a position, isn’t he at liberty to take into account a person’s behaviour, mentality and the way s/he thinks and can interact with others, apart from his/her academia and work experience? Especially if the person will be working in a team?

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On the other hand, how can someone who doesn’t know you judge you from a simple Facebook photo? What if I think I look hot and sexy in my photo, and the prospective employer is a conservative and thinks I look slutty and promiscuous? Is he at liberty not to hire me then? Just based on my appearance? Isn’t that discriminatory and illegal?

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No more Patriarchal Religions! We need to go back to our roots and true balance!

Two days ago I randomly picked out one of those books which you bought coz it looks so interesting, and you know it is, but always start and never manage to finish anyways. This time I got along a little further than the last time – it IS good. This passage struck me particularly as it encapsulates one of the main tenets which bugs me about most structured popular religions and sects nowadays (and by nowadays I mean which cropped up during the last couple of millenia).

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‘For tens of thousands of years feminine symbols represented the universal  life force known as God. For the past 3,500 to 4,000 years, masculine imagery has represented God. All thinking people know that the source of all creation is neither male nor female, but the choice of imagery has had the effect of unbalancing the psyches of individuals and of civilisation. A balance in the symbolism of the archetypal force that represents God needs to be brought into the consciousness of every man, woman and child so that humanity will not destroy our Earth Mother. The Goddess and the laws of Nature embodied in her worship need to be brought back into consciousness so that a balanced order can prevail on this planet and on all the life forms living on it…’

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‘… The Great Goddess… was the Creatrix of all life – her realm included the entire cosmos. All the functions of the Goddess represent aspects of the total qualities of that deity. She was a reflection of the cultural and spiritual life of the peoples who worshipped her, the source or perpetual renewal, supplying all their needs and hopes, inspiring their value system.’

– From ‘The Sacred Whore: Sheela Goddess of the Celts’ by Maureen Concannon

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Put on your WARPAINT!!

Tomorrow 25th November is the International Day for the elimination of Violence against Women. I never take selfies or participate in cheesy chainletters and stuff, but this is a gesture of awareness for a worthy cause, and one which may actually help by showing people that certain things are just wrong and not acceptable, so in this case I’m making an exception.

If, like me, you want to show you want to FIGHT AGAINST VIOLENCE AND ABUSE, PUT ON YOUR WARPAINT AND SHOW US!!

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If you want to know more, goto: http://www.eve.com.mt/events/werefuseviolence/

Also, as I am one of the writers for eve.com, I also wrote an article on Street Harassment to raise awareness of the day. You can find it at: http://www.eve.com.mt/2014/11/24/heyyyyyy-lilly/

I urge you all to subscribe to eve.com which is a very informative and interesting website… after all, you can find articles by yours truly there too!! 😀