This coming Sunday, the feast of St Martin will be celebrated in Bahrija. For this feast, it is traditional for children to receive a cloth bag filled with various types of nuts, an apple, an orange, figs and a small sweet-tasting bread known as the bread of St Martin. It is also customary for children to recite the following rhyme:
Gewz, lewz, qastan, tin
Kemm inhobb lil San Martin.
Which roughly translates to:
Walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, figs -
I sure love St Martin.
In the past, these bags of healthy goodies would be left at the foot of a child’s bed - much like we do today with Christmas stockings. This tradition was slowly dying out but is now enjoying a revival – mainly because children are being taught about this tradition in schools and the ‘borza ta’ San Martin’ (as this little sack is called) is usually sold by schools, with the money collected being donated to charity.
This weekend, people will descend on the village of Bahrija in droves to participate in the feast to honour the saint and also for the annual Turkey and Agrarian Festival. Since 1953, turkeys are raffled in preparation for the Christmas festivities and proceeds go towards the village and parish of Bahrija.
Location: Bahrija, August 2011