Malta’s a small island, there’s lots of us, we have a lovely fiery Mediterranean temperament and for most of the year it’s hot and sticky. It goes without saying that we’re bound to swear every now and then. Meaning every few seconds. But what really brings out our true national talent is the sheer resourcefulness we put into our swearing.
Although much of the ire is directed towards the divine, Malta has come up with a few gems that allow us to skirt the borders of decency and embellish our conversations with a colourful curse or forty-nine.
1. Ħaqq għall-qaħba!
Ħaqq għall-ħara I can understand. Poop is smelly and generally unpleasant. Ħaqq (religious figure) is a defiant cry against authority. But a prostitute? Why? Seriously. Why? She’s doing her job. You’re free to avail yourself of her services or not, but to blame her for stubbing your toe? Just not nice, Nannu.
2. Is-Santa Mqatta!
So first you go about printing images saints on pieces of flimsy paper and bandying them around as talismans to cure all ills. Then you tear one. Then you scream it out loud when you find out that your dog has eaten all the ġulbiena for the third Christmas running. Makes sense.
3. Ħaqq għall-madonkey/madoughnuts/madoffi!
We get it. You’ve got a grievance with the Virgin, but you’re too chicken to let her know. So you slyly imply that she’s cheesed you off, whilst remaining slightly coy about it. You’re not fooling anyone, Sarah.
Same general gist as the madonkey one, except it’s the big guy upstairs whose attention you’re trying to draw and avoid at the same time. Either that, or your neighbour Anna has really gotten on your tits. We know the truth, Grace. Now go back home, you’ve left your rollers in your hair.
5. F’għoxx għajnejk!
Seriously? This is so anatomically convoluted and wrong, it hurts to even think about it, let alone make it happen. Eyes. With a vagina. Do they share one? Do they have one each? And what have my eyes done to piss you off?
George, see an exorcist. You need to have that 12 year old Sacred Heart student expunged from your soul.
If you hold him down, I’ll sprinkle the holy water, Father.
8. Ħaqq l-Istrina!
You’re right, it’s an annoying day of bad television, but they give money to the needy, so I don’t think you should go there.
9. Ħaqq Eva!
So, two options. You either don’t believe in Adam and Eve as real people, in which case your curse is null and void. The other is scarier: you do believe that Eve is the mother of all humanity, yet damn her! Owkeeeeej…
10. Ħaqq dak li jixgħel u jitfi!
Such a specific grievance, it makes you wonder. Have you fought with an electrician? Or is your criticism aimed at a higher power? Namely the Minister for Energy? (Wait, have we got one at the moment?)
11. Qattus it-Torok!
Yes yes, they tried to invade our shores and we repelled them in an epic battle that has defined our being and even spawned a beer. But their cat? The feline that belongs to them? Why? WHY?