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The Mediterranean dimension of the Maltese islands serves as a fitting backdrop to the cultural evolution of its peoples. The geography of its landscapes and the products of its land provide the raw material for the development of patterns of human behaviour. It is thus that the identity the Maltese has been shaped. The language itself is the best evidence of a melting pot of ideas and cultures linked to the historical vicissitudes of the islands. In spite of a constant action of erosion brought about by globalisation, it has retained its essentially distinct character.

Human activity has its particular characteristics. Traditional skills and crafts are linked to the necessities of the people. Some of these survive in the local villages. Others managed to adapt to the necessities of contemporary society. Such is the case of traditional food and related recipes that have found their way to modern restaurant menus. Yet, even in such cases, methods of production remain largely manual.

The religious perspective is obviously fundamental. It has since time immemorial been the major factor to shape and regulate human behaviour in all strata of society. The influence of the religious calendar survives not only in agriculture but also in food and social life. Most of all, the village festa remains to date a phenomenon that still resists modern individualism. In this unique manifestation, the sacred intermingles with the profane to produce a colourful ensemble, which defines the very identity of the village.

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