Five months ago, Malta’s Culture Directorate started a Change.org petition to promote one of the most essential causes of our time: having the noble ftira recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Now, with around 700 signatures on that petition, the Maltese government is moving ahead with officially submitting ftira, and the culinary art surrounding it, to join the UNESCO’s pretty awesome list.
“The Maltese ftira is a living part of Maltese culture”
After the island ratified the UNESCO convention on intangible cultural heritage back in 2017, Malta can now submit anything we feel needs to be globally recognised as cool.
The ftira is just one of a list of seven items that the National Board for Intangible Cultural Heritage came up with.
The list includes Maltese lace, folklore singing (l-għana), the art of embroidery using gold thread, falconry, the traditionally baked dough used in religious feasts known as l-għażżiela, and the Gozitan game of skitters (brilli).
And to be honest, looking at that list, we are not surprised they submitted the glorious ftira first.
“Our work will not stop with the submission of Malta’s application to the UNESCO board, it will definitely intensify in the coming months, where we will see a number of initiatives which will keep broadening and strengthening this important element from our local culture,” Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said this week as he hyped up the ftira train.
“This is all part of this Government’s strategy, where through a number of specific initiatives, we further strengthen and promote our culture on an international and national level. Such recognition will lead to more national pride with regard to our intangible cultural heritage,” he continued.
Now, UNESCO must decide whether the ftira has the right attributes to be considered part of humanity’s global heritage
Besides the actual awesomeness of the food itself, the artisanal manner of creating flattened sourdough bread in the Maltese tradition will be recognised as well.
It’s all in UNESCO’s hands now, as a board must now evaluate whether the simple ftira is as important as Argentinian Tango, Irish Hurling, and Jamaican Reggae.