If you cannot really tell Malta is a little island below Italy and Africa.

Etiquette and Social Rules

In Malta the typical form of greeting is a quick, firm handshake both upon meeting and on leaving. Correct behavior in any situation varies depending on familiarity, age, status, and social connections. Based on the situation the maltese can be anywhere from reserved and chilly ro warm and expressive. To start an acquaintanceship introductions and recommendations from others go along way, but immediately acting like you are familiar with the person is likely to get you rebuffed. You do not wear immodest clothing (especially in church) unless you are on the beach. Men do not hold hands and woman do not wear veils, which is noted in near by the nearby Northern Africa. When behaving in public an individual does not only have to worry about their own honor, but that of their entire family.

Similar to the U.S. the marriage of cousins is not socially accepted. However, unlike the U.S., divorce is not legal and wives are legally obligated to obey their husbands, live with them, and accept their surnames. Marriage is seen as a way for the families of the bride or groom to gain prestige, this can be attributed to either the parties social standing. Malta society is based around the family unit, which can contain several generations.

Being invite to another's home for a meal is a rare occurrence. A few thing to keep in mind are;

-You should dress nicely.

-You should bring a small gift for your hostess.

-Remain standing until you are invited to take a seat.

-You do not begin eating until your hostess does.

-Your host will offer a toast at the beginning of the meal and you can return it later in the meal.

-You should offer to help clean up even though you are likely to be turned down.

Weddings & Funerals

Modern weddings are similar to those found in the rest of Europe. The really interesting is what they used to do in the past.....

When parents realized that it was time for their daughters to get married they would display a pot of sweets on a stone bracket outside their house. Interested young men would find an older gentleman to act as a marriage broker. A contract would be settled between the couple and the bride's dowry agreed upon. The man would send the bride a fish with a golden ring in its mouth. At the betrothal feast the groom would present the bride with an engagement ring that looked like two joined hands symbolizing fidelity. She in return would present him with a handkerchief edged with lace. On the day of the actual wedding the couple would be accompanied to the church by a group of musicians. As the couple made their way back from the church they are showered with grain, nuts, and wheat. At the wedding feast the bride would dine in a separate room from the groom but would join him by the end of the night. Guests would set gifts in the bride's lap as she sat at the top of the room.

Death in Malta is not a subject that is considered taboo as it is in the U.S. Churches ring their bells from 3pm to 8pm to mark the time when funeral begin. Salt in put in a dish and laid on the body of the deceased. In older times this was done to help preserve the body. Before the funeral all mirrors are either covered or removed from the house because mirrors were believed to be spiritual portals. Some families remove paintings and furniture from the body that holds the body to prevent them from being tainted by the presence of death. The body is washed and shrouded by the family. All knobs and knockers are removed from doors and the doors of the house are left closed for several days.

Feast of Saint Paul's Shipwreck

On February 10, the Maltese celebrate San Pawl Nawfragu (see English title above). This is the first major feast of the year in Malta. The holiday is particularly big in Malta, Malta's capital, at the church of St.Paul. Throughout Malta families gather together and attend mass and various other religious ceremonies. There are also parades and processions in honor of Saint Paul.

As the story goes in the Acts of Apostles; Paul was being transported as a Roman Prisoner to modern day Turkey. The ship was damaged in storms and ended up in Malta. Paul was welcomed by the islanders who were astonished when he suffered no ill effects after being bit by a snake, this is also how he became the patron saint of snakebite victims. Paul would go on to heal many of the islanders and convert the Maltese to Christianity. St.Paul is the patron saint of Malta.

On September 21 they celebrate gaining independence from the United KIngdom in 1969. They celebrate it pretty similar to the American independence day. The celebration starts on the evening of September 20 and goes all through the 21. They raise the all of the Malta flags and they throw large parties with fireworks and lots of food.


Food Related Information

There is not a lot on the specifics of when the Maltese eat, though it can be inferred that they have the typical three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and snacks when necessary.  The food in Malta has been influenced by Italy, Britain, North Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Malta is said to have superior quality olive oil. Local cuisine commonly uses Maltese honey, syrups, and liqueurs. A heavy meal is one including pasta, vegetables, and dessert or fruit. The national food of Malta is Fenkata, a rabbit stew (pictured above).

Traditional foods of Malta are rustic and based upon the season. Examples include;Lampuki pie (fish pie), Kapunata (a variation of ratatouille), and Bragioli (beef olives). Because Malta is surrounded by water fish are popular in their diet. You are likely to see swordfish, tuna, and dolphinfish in early or late autumn. Also depending on the season you will see stone fish, grouper, dentex, white bream, and red mullet. One dish that may be familiar to americans is Malta has a dish called mqarrun il-forn, which is baked macaroni.

Main meals include; Swordfish in caper sauce(onions and tomatoes). Aljotta (boiled fish soup with tomatoes and garlic). Snacks include; Hobz Biz-zejy (pieces of bread with olive oil and a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions, and herbs. Gbejniet (small round cheeselets made from goat or sheep milk. Pasitizzi (a pastry stuffed with ricotta cheese or green pea mixture. Desserts eaten include; Kannoli (a tube shaped, crispy, fried pastry filled with ricotta). Helwa tat-Tork (a sugary mixture of crushed and whole almonds). Sicilian-style, semi freddo desserts which are a mix of sponge, ice cream, candied fruits, and cream.

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