Hurray! Hurray! It’s Carnival Again!

Malta’s Carnival goes back hundreds of years. We find that already in the 16th century a jousting tournament was held as part of the celebrations. Maltese people used to celebrate Carnival with the Knights of St. John as from one week before Ash Wednesday. The origin of the name Carnival derives from the Italian phrase ‘Carne vale’, which means literally ‘it is allowed to eat meat’ due to the fact that, in those times,  during the forty days of lent, the eating of meat was forbidden. Therefore, Carnival was to be celebrated just before to the fasting period in Catholic countries.
Nowadays, Carnival is celebrated in many towns and villages but especially in Valletta, Floriana and Nadur Gozo. It is like a big explosion of colour in the decorated floats and costumes. Carnival serves also as means of merriment and a time when individuals also dress up in all sorts of strange or funny costume and just go out in the streets to join the fun.

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The official Carnival festivities take place in Valletta from Friday until the following Tuesday. On the last day, a big Carnival defile ends in the main street of Floriana with a fireworks display.

Tree of the Month – Bay Laurel

The Bay Laurel – Ir-Randa

Another native tree that has almost disappeared from the wild, but it is common in parks and private gardens. This is an evergreen. The leaves of the Laurel are used in cooking and are valued for their medical properties. It grows in valleys and in other humid places such as Wied il-Luq and Wied Qirda.

February is it!

For a sweetheart or a friend
There is just no better way
To show how much you care for them
Than a gift on Valentine’s Day!

It does not need to be expensive
Just a simple card will do,
As long as you put your heart in it
And show that it is really from you!

February is the shortest month of the year.  Usually it has only 28 days but this year it is a leap year, so there is an extra day – 29 in all. February was added to the Roman calendar in 713 BC. The length of the month changed over time and, at one time, it had as few as 23 days. When Julius Caesar remade the Roman calendar, the month was assigned 28 days during normal years and 29 days during leap years which occurred every four years.  February brings along Saint Paul’s feast on the 10th, Our Lady of Lourdes on the 11th, Valentine’s Day on the 14th, Carnival and the beginning of Lent – it is just 40 days before Easter.  It also brings about our own Half Yearly Exams. Then it is time to wait for results and Parents’ day.  We are already half way through the scholastic year!   How time flies!

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Saint Publius of Malta

Saint Publius is the first officially known Maltese Saint. He is venerated as the first Bishop of Malta. He was the prince of the island at the time when Saint Paul came to Malta.  Publius received the Apostle Paul during his shipwreck on the island as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul cured Publius’ sick father. Publius was converted to christianity and this led to Malta being the first Christian nation in the West, and one of the first in the world.

“In the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to a man named Publius, the chief of the island. He welcomed us and received us cordially as his guests for three days. It so happened that the father of Publius was sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, after praying, laid his hands on him and healed him. After this had taken place, the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured. They paid us great honor and when we eventually set sail they brought us the provisions we needed.”

In fact apart from being the particular patron saint of the town of Floriana, Saint Publius is also one of the patron saints of Malta. He was martyred c. 125, during the persecution of Emperor Hadrian. St. Publius was canonised in the year 1634. His feast is celebrated on January 22nd.

Monstri monstri … kullimkien!

Kemm iħobbu jitkelmu fuq il-monstri t-tfal. L-immaġinazzjoni tagħhom ta’ kif jista’ jkun il-monstru huwa tal-għaġeb.

It-tfal tal-kinder, flimkien mal-għalliema tagħhom Ms Audrey, għamlu krafts fejn għażlu jekk il-monstru tagħhom kellux għajn waħda, tnejn jew anke tlieta. Kif ukoll jekk kellux aktar min żewġ saqajn! Fl-aħħar tal-ġimgħa sajru l-jelly u għamluh ġo żewġ tazzi żgħar biex jiġu jixbħu l-għajnejn tal-monstru tagħħom.

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