Culture of Malta

The culture of Malta is a reflection of various cultures that have come into contact with the Maltese Islands throughout the centuries, including neighbouring Mediterranean cultures, and the cultures of the nations that ruled Malta for long periods of time prior to its independence in 1964.
The culture of prehistoric Malta
he earliest inhabitants of the Maltese Islands are believed to have been farmers who crossed over from nearby Sicily sometime before 5000 BCE. They grew cereals and raised domestic livestock and, in keeping with many other ancient Mediterranean cultures, worshipped a mother goddess, represented in Malta by statuettes of unusually large proportions. Pottery from the earliest period of Maltese civilization (known as the Ghar Dalam phase) is similar to that found in Agrigento, Sicily. These people were either supplanted by, or gave rise to a mysterious culture of megalithic temple builders, whose surviving monuments on Malta and Gozo are now believed to be the oldest standing stone structures in the world.The temples date from 4000 – 2500 BCE, and typically consist of a complex trefoil (cloverleaf) design.
Little is known about the temple builders of Malta and Gozo; however, there is some evidence that their rituals included animal sacrifice. This culture disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BCE. The reasons for the disappearance are shrouded in mystery, although historians and archaeologists have speculated that the temple builders fell victim to famine and disease. War is unlikely to have been the cause of their disappearance, since archaeological digs on Malta have yielded little or no evidence of weapons.
The Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades, until the arrival of a new influx of Bronze Age immigrants, a culture that is known to have cremated its dead, and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens to Malta.
The development of modern Maltese culture
The culture of modern Malta has been described as a rich pattern of traditions, beliefs and practices, which is the result of a long process of adaptation, assimilation and cross fertilization of beliefs and usages drawn from various conflicting sources. It has been subjected to the same complex, historic processes that gave rise to the linguistic and ethnic admixture that defines who the people of Malta and Gozo are today.

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