Easter

HAPPY EASTER cards from Polish students: 

 

 

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                                                                                                                added by: Justyna Łęska

 Easter Crafts

 

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Easter is the most important feast in the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. Easter is celebrated in every Christian country. It reminds us of Christ's Resurrection. Maltese people look forward to Easter with great enthusiasm. Easter brings various traditions back to life. Easter is a feast which joins the Maltese as one large united family with young and old sharing in it's fun and celebrations.

 

Lent and Ash Wednesday

 

This year the first day of Lent began on the 5th of March. This day is known as Ash Wednesday.  Lent is a time of penance and sacrifices. On Ash Wednesday, adults fast and abstain from meat. During Mass, a priest puts ashes on the faithful's head as a reminder that our bodies will someday turn to ashes. On Wednesdays and Fridays, adults do not eat meat and children do not eat sweets. In olden days people turned their cooking pots upside down as a sign of fasting.

 

Spiritual Exercises

Jesuits started Spiritual Exercises in Malta in the 17th century. People gather in churches to listen to short sermons done by well-prepared priests. Maltese people remind the faithful of God's great love for each one of them. It is a tradition to have sermons for every category of people say: married couples, youth and unmarried people. Children have their own Spiritual exercises in schools. They usually end up with confessions and Holy Mass.

 

Traditional Lent Food

Like other feasts, Easter has its own traditional food. The "kwarezimal" is very common during Lent. It is made up of almonds, milk, flour, black honey and spices. It does not include eggs. When ready the "kwarezimal" is cut into oblong shapes and put on sale. In fact this is a very common sweet in confectionaries during this time of year. Though the "kwarezimal" is a kind of almond cake, it does not interfere with fasting regulations.

 

The "Sfineg"

In olden days, Maltese people ate a special kind of bread during Lent. This bread was known as ''sfineg '', which were flat and circular loaves of bread. The ''sfineg'' were made from flour and meal flower mixed together.  Then the bread was coated with honey and fried in oil. Sometimes, Maltese women filled the ''sfineg'' with spinach, salted anchovies and olives and rolled them into a kind of swiss roll. The ''sfineg'' were taken with a cup of tea or coffee while a member of the family read a passage from the Bible about Christ's Passion.

 

The "Karamelli"

Another traditional Maltese food or sweets are the ''karamelli''. In olden days these sweets were made from carob. Today they are still very popular but nowadays they are made from sugar. Sugar is poured in a pot and stirred continuously until it is hot. When the mixture has dissolved and turned black, it is poured on a piece of metal, glass or marble and cut into small squares. Once ready they are wrapped in grease-proof paper to avoid becoming sticky. Usually hawkers stay in corners and sell the ''karamelli'' both to young and old who enjoy eating them.

 

Cross Buns

Cross buns are very popular in Malta. These are similar to the English cross buns, usually small buns coated with honey. On top of the cross buns is a cross made from icing sugar. The cross is a reminder of Christ's Cross. Children love cross buns but Maltese buns are never really hot!

 

Statues

 

As Good Friday approaches we find various statues in our churches. Statues describe all that Jesus went through on  his way to the Calvary. Statues are decorated with flowers and lighted bulbs. During Good Friday processions the statues are carried around in various villages.

 

Exhibitions

 

During this time of year, young people exhibit miniature statues of Christ's passion in small chapels, halls and even in their own houses. They are usually designed by famous artists. Marvelous exhibitions of well - laid Last Supper Tables are also very popular. During Lent one can see various signs to lead tourists and Maltese people to these exhibitions.

 

Our Lady of Sorrows

 

A very popular feast in the Maltese islands is that of our Lady of Sorrows. Every church has a statue of  Our Lady. As every man often faces pain and suffering throughout his life, Malta has chosen Mary, the Mother of God under the title '' Our Lady of Sorrows'' to intercede for him during those difficult times. A procession is held on the Friday before Palm Sunday in honour of the ''Lady". One can see many people praying with devotion along the streets of his town or village. Hymns are sung and the Rosary is said on the way. People walk barefooted behind the statue as sign of sacrifice and thanksgiving for having received a special grace.

 

Good Friday

 

Good Friday is a Holy Day in the life of us Catholics. Today we remember God's great Love for us when He sent His only Son to suffer and die for our salvation. On this day we fast and make sacrifices. A special Mass is celebrated in all churches around the island. This is held at 3pm, the time when Jesus died. After Mass there is a procession with marvelous statues and adults and children wearing costumes. Many tourists from all over the world visit our island at this time of year to see our famous processions.

 

Easter Sunday

 

"Hurray! It's Easter Sunday," little children usually exclaim on Easter morning. This is a special day for everyone. Children eat "figolli" and Easter eggs. For lunch mum usually cooks a lamb to remind us of the Paschal Lamb - Jesus who died for us and rose up from the grave. In some Maltese villages, an Easter pageant with the statue of the Risen Lord is held. Children also take part in these processions. In some villages, this procession is held early in the morning at around 8o'clock. This is done to remind us that Jesus rose up from the death in the morning. In other villages this procession is held in the evening. At the end of these famous processions, men who are carrying the statue on their shoulders, usually run the steps leading to the Church as a reminder of Christ's Resurrection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kwarezimal recipe, make your own Maltese traditional lenten biscuits

The name of this bisquits refers to the fourty days of Lent, which is the traditional moment when Maltese housewives used to prepare it. Kwarezimal does not contain any fat or eggs, and is best served topped with true Maltese Honey, flavoured with thyme, although this is quite hard to find nowadays.

Ingredients to make your own Kwarezimal:

    1 lb almonds ground
    3/4 lb flour
    1/4 lb wholemeal flour
    8 oz sugar
    4 oz candied peel
    1 tbsp cocoa
    1 tsp cinnamom
    1 oz roasted nuts, chopped
    1 tsp mixed spices
    1 lemon rind, grated
    1 orange rind, grated
    2 oz margarine
    2 tbsp orange flower water
    1 tsp honey (possibly Maltese Honey, which is flavoured with thyme)

Don't worry, it's easy making Kwarezimal:

Sift both flours in a bowl and add the bran from wholemeal flour back in the bowl.You will then need to heat and melt margarine in a saucepan. Stir in the bowl the melted margarine and add some orange flower water.
Add remaining ingredients to the flour mixture and add enough water to knead into a stiff dough.
Form dough into shapes 16" X 3" & 1" thick and lay them out on a baking pan. 
Bake in 350 oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
While still hot, brush on honey and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Blog
Polish school bulletin (paper)

Pisanki - Polish Easter eggs
Trying out one of our partner's traditional Easter

Please upload simple traditional Easter sweet recipes to maybe try one ourselves. 

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Here you can read how we celebrate Easter in Poland:

 

(Prepared by Polish students and their teacher Justyna Łęska)