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5 Historical Wedding Traditions In Malta And Gozo

By April 26, 2018 No Comments

1. Perlini

In the early part of the 20th century, Malta was passing through an economic depression, and beggars would even knock on doors for bread. But some enterprising businesses took a hold of the Industrial Revolution and set up their own businesses. One of which being Angelo Cilia and his wife Nina from Hamrun, who began to import sugar in the 1930s to make candy drops, and later- Perlini – the much loved almond pastel candies we see so much as wedding favours today.

2. The Għonnella

The Maltese għonnella was a staple as outerwear for Maltese women way up until the 1940s and early 1950s, before becoming out of use and out of fashion after the Second World War. By the 1970s, it was only seen very rarely in religious organisations and died out. However, it was also used as wedding attire until it became replaced by the white dresses we know of today up until the 40s. The għonnella is a dramatic, black garment with a structured hood held up by whalebone, card and starched. It must have made for a very mysterious bride!

3. Sixpence

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” is a well-know mantra, but there’s an extra part that goes “And a sixpence in her shoe”! Some brides would follow this classic mantra as a sixpence worn in her wedding shoe on the Big Day was though to bring in wealth and prosperity and bless the marriage with riches and happiness.

4. House Visit

It’s still very common for the Bride’s and Groom’s family to host a lavish home visit for guests before the wedding. Some families will even take out a loan to make any works on the house, so that it’s looking spick and span! A white ribbon is traditionally tied around the doorknocker and visitors are greeted with the tea and coffee in the best china and tableware, and a table spread full of glorious food, in which the guests leave money under the plates for the newlyweds-to-be!

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5. White Birds

Although civil weddings overtook religious weddings in 2017, traditional church weddings are still going strong in Malta. As an island that boasts around 365 churches, there’s more than enough to take your pick from, ranging from bombastic baroque beauties to gorgeous country chapels. After the ceremony is over, its tradition not only to shower the Bride and Groom with dried rice and confetti, but also to let a few snowy white pigeons out of their cages too as a sign of congratulations!

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