Mqaret: A Case of National Identity?

Credits: Karl Vince Sammut

We all need a break fIsland life is known to be simplistic in nature, which is why many people seek out Malta for their holidays, apart from the sunshine, of course. In recent years, Malta has become an economic hub, with many foreign companies choosing to invest in Malta. Though the Maltese economy has greatly benefited, Malta is beginning to look like somewhat of a city.

38-storey tower in Sliema has recently sparked controversy, as has  the door of a traditional house. Renzo Piano’s project involving the City Gate, parliament, and the Royal Opera House had, again created much controversy. With Valletta 2018 only a year away, a new project to beautify the entrance to Valletta was announced. Though many would agree that the area outside city gate had fallen into disrepair, with a persistent smell of horse urine, and people selling shoes, one can not help to reminisce about the memories most Maltese people have there.

Some of us will remember the old yellow busses (and the multi-coloured ones, too) encircling the Triton fountain, and the few cents of a fare we had to pay for a journey (which nanna always so generously provided). Others will remember the mouthwatering taste of mqaret being sold for about 40c, and eating them while sitting on the Triton fountain. Many also recall using the fountain as a landmark, to rendezvous with friends before their adventures in Valletta. And who could forget the endearing call of “cold water cold lemonade” as you walked out of Valletta.

Though admittedly not cultural icons, these experiences formed a great part of the lives of many Maltese people. Which leads one to wonder if we are losing our identity in order to keep up with the world. Though the new entrance will indeed be beautiful, it will never be the one we all remember and loved.


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