Marsaxlokk – Malta’s fishing village

Marsaxlokk (pronounced marsa-schlock – meaning southeastern port) is a small fishing village with a population of around 4,000 located on the south-eastern coast of Malta located at the shoreline of the second largest port in Malta.

At present, this important fishing village has the largest population of active fishermen with many traditional fishing boats of all sizes anchored in the port. The Malta fishing village is a very quiet location compared to others, with few cars passing through. But at the same time it has become a very touristic location with many fish restaurants and cafes lined along the promenade. Street hawkers set up their daily stalls here selling souvenirs, clothing and all kinds of things. You will also notice there are stalls selling fresh fish. Marsaxlokk is busiest on Sunday when many people flock to the Sunday market. Many locals come on this day to buy their weekly supply of fish and vegetables.

You will still see the usual souvenir stalls and the Maltese lace table-cloths with crochet finishing many of them depicting the cross of the Knights of Malta. For those with a sweet tooth, one will find many locally baked sweets to savour and purchase.

The most popular fish in Malta are the Swordfish and blue fin tuna. During spring and autumn dolphin fish or Dorado, known locally as ‘lampuki’ is caught in abundance and is very popular with the locals. If you are lucky enough you might see the fishermen tending to their nets before they go out to sea for their next catch.

It is a village where you can relax and gently stroll around. Despite having become very commercialized, the beauty is in its old houses laden with character and typical Maltese church with the large square at the front.


12 world famous celebrities with ties to Malta

They may not have a Maltese passport but they do have Maltese blood! Or, at the least, some Maltese roots. Meet the Maltese and almost Maltese around the world who have made a big name for themselves.

1. Meghan Markle
Born Rachel Meghan Markle, she is the first American member of the British royal family and a former film and television actress. While in Malta on a visit, prior to meeting Harry, she claimed, “… coming to Malta has been really important to me because my great-great-grandmother lived here, so we’ve been trying to trace the ancestry.”

2. Miriam Gauci, Soprano
One of the first Maltese born to make it big, Miriam Gauci moved to Milan to pursue a career as an operatic soprano. She made her debut as a professional soprano in Bologna in 1984 and in the US in 1987. By 1992, she was in high demand, singing in Vienna, Munich, Hamburg and Santa Fe, alongside the likes of Plácido Domingo.

3. Joseph Calleja, Tenor
Maltese Tenor Joseph Calleja needs no introduction. Born in Attard in 1978, he began singing at the age of 16. In 1998, he won the Caruso Competition in Milan and went on to pursue a successful career as a world-class tenor. He performs annually in Malta alongside other acclaimed artists and is known for his philanthropic work. Appointed Malta’s Cultural Ambassador in 2012, he is truly Malta’s pride and joy.

4. Joseph Calleia, Actor/Singer
Yet another Joseph Calleia was in the limelight much earlier. Also known as Joseph Spurin, he was one of Hollywood’s most recognised villains from the classic period. He was the Leonardo di Caprio from the 30s to the early 60s, working alongside Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Birgman, Lucille Balls and Orson Welles. He was born in Malta in 1897 and died in Sliema in 1975, aged 78.

5. Kerry Ingram, Actress
A more contemporary rising star is Kerry Ingram, Princess Shireen Baratheon in Game of Thrones. Kerry also won an Olivier Award, the highest honour in British theatre, for her role in the hit musical Matilda. The 17-year-old British actress’s grandfather is Maltese, and she has attended the Mqabba village feast every single year since she was born!

6. Edwige Fenech, Actress
Edwige Fenech was born to a Maltese father and Sicilian mother in French Algeria (now Algeria). She became an actress and film producer, working alongside Al Pacino and starring in a Quentin Tarantino film. She was hugely talented, yet is more remembered locally for her sexy and nude appearances.

7. Edward De Bono, Author/Psychologist/Philosopher
Edward De Bono is lauded as one of the most creative minds of the 21st century. The author, physician and psychologist became widely known for his extraordinary work in what is coined ‘lateral thinking’ – an indirect and creative approach to solving problems. Born in Malta in 1933, De Bono has held faculty appointments at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Harvard, published 57 books in 34 languages and made several other contributions.

8. Paul Tisdale, Football Manager
Paul Tisdale is an English professional football manager and former professional football player. He is currently the manager of League League One club Bristol Rovers. He was born in 1973 in Valletta, Malta.

9. Andy Partridge, Musician
Legendary British Rockstar Andrew John Partridge was best known as the primary songwriter and vocalist of punk rock band XTC from 1972 until 2006. The English singer-songwriter, guitarist and record producer from Swindon was born in Mtarfa, Malta, in 1953.

10. Britney Spears, Singer
From the biography ‘Through the Storm’ by Lynne Spears, mother of Jamie Lynn, Bryan and Britney Spears: “But on my mama’s side, the family tree is a little more colourful and glamorous. Her father, my grandfather, was Anthony Portelli, who came from the island of Malta. Anthony Portelli came to England in the 1920s, married a British girl and changed his name to Portell. The Portells had two daughters, Joan, my aunt, and Lillian, my mother.” There you go, Britney’s maternal great-grandfather was Maltese.

11. Bryan Adams, Musician
Rock singer-songwriter, record producer and guitarist since 1975 until present, Bryan Guy Adams is also a philanthropist. Most Maltese know about the Canadian superstar’s Maltese roots as he officially revealed them during a concert in Pembroke, Malta, in 2007. His maternal grandmother was Maltese – she was from Floriana but lived in Valletta. His mother was, therefore, Maltese-Canadian, and Adams himself was born in Canada in 1959.

12. Tash Sultana, Musician
This time we are proud of the daughter of a Maltese-Australian. Sultana astounds everyone with her talent and the way she puts music together. She can play 20 instruments, including the guitar, bass, trumpet, flute, piano, drums, pan flute, mandolin, saxophone, synthesizer, percussion and saxophone as well as vocals. Genres include psychedelic rock, alternative rock, reggae rock and lo-fi. Born in 1995, she’s been playing music since the age of three and busking on the streets of Melbourne since age 17.

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How to make “Maltese traditional” figolli

The tradition of “Figolli”, goes back to ancient times, thousands of years back …. and it is assumed to have originated in Sicily, Italy.  Its roots can be traced back to pagan history but more recently, they are a traditional post-lent snack and are often given to children as an Easter gift… They generally come in the shape of rabbits, butterflies, or Easter eggs, but you can also find them shaped like men and women. They are a mouth-watering mixture of biscuit, marzipan and icing, with a moist soft almond paste in the centre and are finished off with icing or chocolate coating and a chocolate egg on top!

Many housewives still enjoy making delicious “figolli”, in the company of young children who draw their favorite shapes on cardboard or use ready made shape templates about 20cm to 25cm long but You can also buy these everywhere around this time of the year, from supermarkets, bakeries, confectionaries, and other food shops and they are a must try for anyone visiting the islands.

Malti – All about the Maltese Language

What is the Maltese language ? A frequently asked question by foreigners visiting the Maltese islands and linguists alike.

The Maltese speak a unique language (us Maltesers call it a secret language) – Malti is the only Semitic language written in latin characters.

Through the ages many foreign words, mainly English and Italian have become part of the language. What is surprising is that the Maltese managed to retain this unique language in face of so many others brought in over the years.

Until the late 19th century, Maltese was only a spoken language as there were no grammatical rules written down and determined.

The earliest evidence of the Maltese language dates back to a ballad by Pietro Caxaro in 1485. The Knights also tried to script in the 19th century.

The survival of the language is testament to the resilience of the Maltese people to remain a distinct people and culture. The language thought to have arrived in Malta in 750 BC and derived from the ancient Phoenicians, is spoken only in Malta!

The influence of the Arabs who resided in Malta between the 9th and the 13th centuries shows clearly that the roots of the language are closely akin to Arabic, in fact place names and numbers are the more obvious examples of this Arabic influence.

Want to learn Malti? Is it difficult to learn? For non native speakers trying to learn Malti, the most awkward sound is similar to the Arabic q – an almost silent, but difficult to pronounce, glottal plosive. The Maltese language is comprised of 30 letters: 24 consonants and 6 vowels.

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