'Public figures' warned: Carnival satire is coming after you

Il-Qarcilla, a poetic farce, was first written in 1760 and 'a revamped' edition will have as its main protagonist prominent public figures

23 February 2017, 9:18am
Qarċilla is a poetic farce in Maltese which up to a hundred years ago formed part of the Carnival celebrations held in Valletta
Qarċilla is a poetic farce in Maltese which up to a hundred years ago formed part of the Carnival celebrations held in Valletta
A notary, a bride and a groom: anything out of the ordinary?

Probably not… unless you take into consideration that the marital contract is full of satirical innuendos, sexual connotations and humour that takes the mickey out of prominent public figures.

Carnival festivities in Malta are marked by carnival floats, costumes and food, but not only. One literary tradition is known as il-Qarċilla, a poetic farce in Maltese which up to a hundred years ago formed part of the carnival celebrations held in Valletta and was also very popular in a number of villages.

The original Qarċilla was written in 1760 by Cospicua poet Dun Feliċ Demarco.

This year’s event will be held at Fort St Angelo, on Monday 27 February, organised by Heritage Malta, the Carnival Committee, the University of Malta’s department of Maltese and the Education Ministry.

The plot evolves around a man, acting as a notary, reading out a marital contract to the bride and groom-to-be. The contract, written in verse filled with satirical innuendos, humour and sexual connotations, outlines the things that the fiancé and fiancée have to give each other on their marriage.

Written by Immanuel Mifsud and directed by Joseph Galea, the revamped version of il-Qarċilla is set on a cruise with prominent public personalities set to be the protagonists.

The programme includes a short talk by lecturer Olvin Vella about the linguistic value of the ancient qrieċel.

The event is open to an adult audience from 18 years. Tickets at €15 and €12 for Heritage Malta members can be purchased from all Heritage Malta sites and museums and online.

More information about Heritage Malta’s activities can be obtained from the agency’s website, www.heritagemalta.org