Is our culture and tradition dying out or is it just evolving?

Posted On February 24, 2021

Perhaps one of the most popular and catching arguments that we hear nowadays is about the Maltese tradition and culture. The argument always revolves around the same question “Is our culture and tradition dying out? Or is it just evolving?

This argument can be brought up in two ways: Either the traditions are in reality dying out and can be due to many foreigners coming into the country and this may affect the way the new generation is looking at the Maltese tradition. It is mainly that the new generation is being more familiar with these people and thus they are combining tradition and culture together with the foreign people.

It could also be the case that in reality, tradition and culture are evolving. We cannot forget also that technology has made huge impacts around the world and thus, certain jobs which were part of the culture got lost due to these technological advancements. Additionally, it could be that these traditions were evolving with times and so when people look back they say that it got lost when in fact it evolved.

From the various things we actually lost there are: “Il-Huttaba”, “In-Newwieha” and “L-Ghonnella”. Il-Huttaba was a person who would make up dates for couples, and also help people to approach others for dates. This however ended as time went by. It can be mainly due to technological advancements. This is because nowadays there are online dating apps and sites so the job of the Huttaba is no longer needed. In-Newwieha was a very strange tradition as this was involved with funerals. This is when a person dies these people where paid to cry their eyes out and scream. L-Ghonnella is a piece of clothing which died out several years ago. It is perhaps one of the most famous part of Maltese culture and tradition. This was probably due to the fact that clothing brands were coming to Malta and the younger generations wanted to dress more to the fashion trend.

Some traditions that are dying out are the lace and knitting. Even though these are not reserved only for Maltese people as these are done also in other countries, however in Malta it is a big part of our tradition. Knitting nowadays is replaced by knitting machines which is a result of technological advancements. Whereas in the past people used to knit with their hands and this was considered as a piece of art, nowadays this is on verge of ending. This is because machines can produce much more than people can do and with the same results or better and in shorter time. On the other hand lace is facing the same end.

It is important to note that traditions as said before do not only die out but can also evolve. For example the wedding evolved from the way it was done in the past. Past weddings were carried out by having a big decorated piece of canopy with the bride standing under it and going around the streets to the church. Nowadays this is no more. Weddings now are done with the cars taking the bride and groom to the church where they commit for life. This is an evolvement as foreign traditions influenced the way weddings are done nowadays.

There are some new traditions that Malta is experiencing and are still gaining momentum. In these last few decades Malta got to experience higher attendances and more will for parties. Thus on public holidays like 1st of May, St Mary`s Feast and some other feasts it is very common nowadays that people go to mass party events. These are held at various venues around Malta such as Gianpula, Aria, Numero Uno and other venues.  A tradition which started in another country and is taking its place annually in every country and Malta is no exception is St Patrick`s Day on March 17th. It has perhaps become one of the most famous events of the year in Malta, and is still growing in popularity. Another world wide famous event that happens in Malta every year is the Isle of MTV. This big concert takes place every first week of June and loads of tourists come just for the concert. It has become a mainstay in the Maltese calendar.

However there is a thing that neither had evolved, nor died out, but kept on going and is still popular. Yes! Its the food. Traditional Maltese food include: Maltese bread, Pastizzi, Gbejniet, Bragioli, Maltese sausage, Bigilla among many more. Traditional Maltese sweets such as: Imqaret, Qaghaq tal-Ghasel, Figolli and many more which most of them are seasonal, and beverages such as Cisk and Kinnie. These are still very popular amongst the Maltese people. Perhaps food is the best kept custom in the Maltese tradition and culture. Food is one thing which still brings Maltese people together and is still viewed as the best way to identify us as Maltese.

Evolvement or not, dying out or not we should always look with pride at our traditions. We should always keep in mind the past traditions which made us who we are and embrace the current customs and take care of our beautiful culture.

Written by Carlos Gauci

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