Category Archives: The Project

Colombian Flowers

One cold Saturday, Oscar and I visited Dingli Cliffs for Oscar to enjoy Maltese food and discover a new part of the island. Horse meat was on the menu and this was a strange experience for Oscar. In Colombia, where he comes from, horses are held in high regard and it is illegal to sell horsemeat. Inspired by our project, Ħwawar u Fjuri, I asked Oscar what has become a standard question in my encounters: to tell me about the flowers in Colombia. The first images that came to his mind were of the ancient trees that can be found in Colombia which produce tropical flowers, and the beautiful places around the Amazon River where a diversity of animals live. He vividly remembered the parrots and small monkeys.Oscar told me that, in Colombia, flowers are used as decorations: for special and joyous occasions such as weddings and parties. Flowers are also used for funerals, and are taken to the cemetery, as they are in our own culture, here in Malta. In Colombia, Oscar remembered, it is traditional to place a crown of flowers on and around the coffin.

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Another Colombian tradition Oscar remembered was that people enjoyed relaxing by having baths using fresh flower petals, generally of roses or sun flowers, which are boiled for an hour with a little honey added to the mix. Sometimes a puff or two of one’s own perfume is added. The mixture is added to the bath, and is believed to be revitalizing. Other flowers can also be used, and usually petals are bought, so long as they are fresh. Another belief linked to this bath held by some people in Colombia is that it helps to attract good experiences in life. This is not a widely shared belief, but, whatever one believes in, a bath with flower petals can certainly be a positive response to difficult moments.

Oscar remembered how in Colombia rose petals are also used to prepare a rose-dessert, which is very popular. I mentioned to Oscar that in Malta rose-vinegar used to be popular, although it no longer is today. Another tradition Oscar remembered was that in Colombia bitter plants, herbs and flowers are used to make a variety of teas, several of which are also used to refresh one’s own body. The plants used always originate in Colombia. Colombians like to drink tea, using flowers like ‘Manzanilla’ – Chamomile–which is also used to cure sickness. I mentioned that in Malta we also like to drink Chamomile tea but he emphasized that in Colombia people prefer to use fresh or dried flowers rather than ready-made teabags. Another flower Oscar identified as popularly used in Colombia is ‘Calendula’, known as ’marigold’ in English. It is believed that the tea from this flower helps the body to regenerate and heal scars: a belief Oscar defends from his own experience of drinking Calendula tea to help with his recovery process after having had an appendix operation.

In Colombia, flowers are widely used to organize feasts, or ‘Carnaval’. In the city of Medellin a very special feast is organized, called ‘La Feria de las Flores’. Oscar explained that this is a yearly tradition. Colombian flowers are used for the festival, and people use flowers in the parade that takes place during the feast. Oscar wanted me to look up online pictures of this event, which I did. The festival is organized in August, and a lot of people visit Medellin to participate in it. The pictures look stunning. ‘La Feria de las Flores’ is on Oscar’s to-do list.

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On the other hand, Oscar pointed out that Saint Valentine’s day is not an important occasion in Colombia, but a similar day is celebrated instead in September: a feast called ‘De Amor Y Amistad’. This is a day where everyone buys a rose to give to someone else, to celebrate both love and friendship. Similarly, on women’s day, women are given roses. In his childhood, Oscar recalls that he often used to cut a rose from the neighbour’s garden to give to his mother on women’s day and, when he could not find a rose, he would paint one for her.

Shifting his attention to other aspects of flowers in Colombia, he pointed out that the country produces and even exports flowers, despite being more famous for its coffee. He pointed out that Columbia has emerged as the second largest international exporter of flowers as a result of the beautiful, colourful, varied and good quality flowers it produces.

At the end of our conversation Oscar pointed out that, culturally, the most important tree in Colombia is the ‘Palma de Cera’, which represents national identity, and is emblematic of the country, as, in flower form, does the orchid. Oscar emphasized that the ‘Palma de Cera’ holds a special meaning for people in Colombia, and the awareness of its importance is transmitted from one generation to the next.

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Qawmien Workshop – Flowers and herbs in beauty, relaxation and revitalization of the self, the other and relationships

Workshop Qawmien - Blog ImageThe image of the tree has come to symbolise life across many cultures. It draws attention to the need for our connection to the earth in order to be able to grow outwards and upwards towards people and elements in our environment. Our holistic well being depends on our being rooted to earth and connected with ourselves and others.

This workshop will invite participants to experience multi-sensory stimuli. Through this experience they will be invited to reflect upon the way in which a sensorial connection with the environment can inspire connection with their selves and others. They will have the space to share their feelings and thoughts about how their energy can be shifted, and their wellbeing altered through these connections. 

By Lou Ghirlando; Workshop Qawmien facilitator

 

Workshop Invitation

What if we met to exchange our stories, be they personal, ethnic, cultural, spiritual or traditional, on the use of herbs and flowers?

We, at the Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri, want to invite you just for that! Join us at our fifth workshop, Qawmien, where we will meet together to exchange our stories on Saturday 26th of July between 9:00a.m. and 12:00a.m., at the Carmelite’s Priory in Mdina.

The workshop will be facilitated by Ms. Lou Ghirlando.

How to Participate?

If you wish to take part in the workshops, please send us a 100-200 word letter of motivation by Friday 19th of July on hwawar.fjuri@gmail.com. Selected participants have to prepare a couple of stories to share during the workshop, after which each participants will be given 20€ as a sign of gratuity for participating and sharing their stories with us.

Workshop Information

The workshop, which is restricted to around 8 participants, will be facilitated to invite participants into sharing their stories of flowers and the use of herbs on the theme of the workshop. After the workshop, the stories shared will be used by the facilitator to compile a general narrative, whilst respecting everyone’s anonymity. The narratives and photography of the workshops will be reproduced at the Carmelite Priory in Mdina during the closing photographic exhibition of the project. The workshops will therefore be attended by a professional photographer, who will take pictures of the workshop, unless advised otherwise by the participants. In the compilation of narratives, the anonymity of each participant will be ensured.

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Demgħa Workshop – Flowers and herbs in funerals & other losses

Demgha Poster Image

 To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

William Blake.

A short extract from one of my favourite poems, Auguries of Innocence, is made up of a series of paradoxes, where all that is good and beautiful in the world is contrasted with that which is not.
“Heaven in a wild flower”; I love that line. For me a flower captures all that is beautiful and alive! How very paradoxical then, that I also associate flowers with death. I’m not alone in this.
Do we refer to flowers in death as a mark of etiquette, a bunch of flowers to show respect? Do we say it in flowers in our darkest moments – when words fail? Do flowers capture the beauty and fragility of life? Is it spiritual? How is it for you? I’ll share my story, are you ready to share yours…?

By Dr. Maria Pisani, Demgħa Workshop facilitator

Workshop Invitation

What if we met to exchange our stories, be they personal, ethnic, cultural, spiritual or traditional, on the use of herbs and flowers?

We, at the Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri, want to invite you just for that! Join us at our fourth workshop, Demgħa, where we will meet together to exchange our stories on Saturday 21st of June between 9:00a.m. and 12:00a.m., at the Carmelite’s Priory in Mdina.

The workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Maria Pisani.

How to Participate?

If you wish to take part in the workshops, please send us a 100-200 word letter of motivation by Friday 13th of June on hwawar.fjuri@gmail.com. Selected participants have to prepare a couple of stories to share during the workshop, after which each participants will be given 20€ as a sign of gratuity for participating and sharing their stories with us.

Workshop Information

The workshop, which is restricted to around 8 participants, will be facilitated to invite participants into sharing their stories of flowers and the use of herbs on the theme of the workshop. After the workshop, the stories shared will be used by the facilitator to compile a general narrative, whilst respecting everyone’s anonymity. The narratives and photography of the workshops will be reproduced at the Carmelite Priory in Mdina during the closing photographic exhibition of the project. The workshops will therefore be attended by a professional photographer, who will take pictures of the workshop, unless advised otherwise by the participants. In the compilation of narratives, the anonymity of each participant will be ensured.

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Namur Workshop – Flowers and herbs in love affairs, courtship & marriage

Namur Poster Image

 As the honeybee
Drifts from flower to flower
Another joins it,

Jeanine Dejesus

Can you learn about a culture through love and flowers? The love for flowers? The flowers as an expression of love? What flower comes to your mind when you feel love? Do you use flowers for ceremonies and rituals? How do they convey love? Do you have a story to narrate how you used flowers to express your love to someone?
Do you use herbs to put you in the mood to open your heart for love? What herbs do you use as aphrodisiacs and in love potions? In ceremonies and rituals to convey love?
Come and share your story or the story of your family and culture as related to flowers, herbs and love.

By Censu Caruana, Workshop Namur facilitator

Workshop Invitation

What if we met to exchange our stories, be they personal, ethnic, cultural, spiritual or traditional, on the use of herbs and flowers?

We, at the Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri, want to invite you just for that! Join us at our third workshop, Namur, where we will meet together to exchange our stories on Saturday 10th of May between 9:00a.m. and 12:00a.m., at the Carmelite’s Priory in Mdina.

The workshop will be facilitated by Censu Caruana.

How to Participate?

If you wish to take part in the workshops, please send us a 100-200 word letter of motivation by Friday 2nd of May on hwawar.fjuri@gmail.com. Selected participants have to prepare a couple of stories to share during the workshop, after which each participants will be given 20€ as a sign of gratuity for participating and sharing their stories with us.

Workshop Information

The workshop, which is restricted to around 8 participants, will be facilitated to invite participants into sharing their stories of flowers and the use of herbs on the theme of the workshop. After the workshop, the stories shared will be used by the facilitator to compile a general narrative, whilst respecting everyone’s anonymity. The narratives and photography of the workshops will be reproduced at the Carmelite Priory in Mdina during the closing photographic exhibition of the project. The workshops will therefore be attended by a professional photographer, who will take pictures of the workshop, unless advised otherwise by the participants. In the compilation of narratives, the anonymity of each participant will be ensured.

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Majjistral Park Walk with Hwawar u Fjuri

Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri and Majjistral Nature and History Park are hosting a visit of the Park on the 26th of April through the rich landscape of Malta’s first natural National park. The walk starts at 09:30 and ends around 12:00. It goes along a circular route about 5 km long, so to have a pleasant time please wear adequate walking shoes for slightly rugged terrain.

Majjistral Walk - Poster ImageTo join us for the visit please make advanced booking of your participation by email to Annalise Falzon, the Park Guide, on walks@majjistral.org. Every participant is required to pay 5 euro that will go to Majjistral Park. The group visit is limited to 35 people so booking are made on a first come first serve basis. Booking are closed by the 22nd of April. The walk is open to everyone and is guided by Annalise Falzon.

The Park is the first natural National park of the Maltese islands, and is home to a rich variety of endemic flora. Our walk will take us through the scenic landscape of the northwest of Malta, where we will be able to experience some of the 430 different plant species that are hosted in the park. The Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri through this walk hopes that participants will openly share their stories and experiences, in line with the project’s narrative method, as they walk around the flora and landscape of the National park.

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‘Ħwawar u Fjuri’ aims to create a space were Maltese nationals and migrants can meet each other and share experiences through narration of stories on the use of herbs and flowers in their own country and culture of origin.

Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri is a project run by Integra Foundation in collaboration with the Carmelite Priory in Mdina with funds awarded under the President’s Creativity Award. For further information about this project read more on https://hwawarfjuri.wordpress.com/ or like our facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Hwawar-u-Fjuri

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Majjistral Nature and History Park is Malta’s first natural national park. Located in Mellieħa in the northwest of Malta, it includes the coastal area from Golden Bay to Il-Prajjet and inland towards Manikata at ix- Xagħra l-Ħamra. It was declared a national park by the Government of Malta in September 2007 and is managed by the Heritage Parks Federation. For further information regarding Majjistral Nature and History Park read more on www.majjistral.org

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Talba Workshop – Flowers and herbs in religious rituals and worship

Workshop Talba - Poster Image

All religions and belief systems make use of flowers, herbs and spices to enhance the spiritual experience of the faithful inasmuch as these elements appeal to the senses and give a heightened sense of beauty, harmony and well being. Through the use of particular flowers, herbs and spices chosen for specific festivals, religious people sensually and physically absorb the spiritual significance of the mystery being celebrated through cultic forms of rituals. Cult in turn generates culture. Thus one can find that the use of these same elements is not restricted to the cultic setting. Parameters are extended into daily life, such as in the preparation of food, and in other areas. The workshop aims at looking at particular flowers, spices and herbs used in particular cultic and cultural traditions. 

By Fr. Glen Attard and Fr. Charlo Camilleri, Workshop Talba facilitators

Workshop Invitation

What if we even met eachother to exchange these stories, be they personal, ethnic, cultural, spiritual or traditional, on the use of herbs and flowers?

We, at the Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri, want to invite you just for that! Join us at our second workshop, Talba, where we will meet together to exchange our stories on Saturday 5th of April between 9:00a.m. and 12:00a.m., at the Carmelite’s Priory in Mdina.

The workshop will be facilitated by Fr. Glen Attard and Fr. Charlo Camilleri.

How to Participate?

If you wish to take part in the workshops, please send us a 100-200 word letter of motivation by Friday 28th of March on hwawar.fjuri@gmail.com. Selected participants have to prepare a couple of stories to share during the workshop, after which each participants will be given 20€ as a sign of gratuity for participating and sharing their stories with us. Should you wish to apply, but not want to be photographed, please feel free to contact us to make the necessary arraignments.

Workshop Information

The workshop, which is restricted to around 8 participants, will be facilitated to invite participants into sharing their stories of flowers and the use of herbs on the theme of the workshop. After the workshop, the stories shared will be used by the facilitator to compile a general narrative, whilst respecting everyone’s anonymity . The narratives and photography of the workshops will be reproduced at the Carmelite Priory in Mdina during the closing photographic exhibition of the project. The workshops will therefore be attended by a professional photographer, who will take pictures of the workshop, unless advised otherwise by the participants. In the compilation of narratives, the anonymity of each participant will be ensured.

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Lecture on Ethno Botany: The Maltese islands

Introduction to Ethnobotany

Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the relationships existing between peoples and plants. It is not merely a collection of the daily utilizations of plants, but it is also the study of all the histories, cultures and languages of a place. The ethnobotanist collects, observes the environmental management, and plans ecological solutions respecting habitat, flora and fauna. He studies the plants’ etymology, and their utilization in local medicine, or music, and moreover their historical and cultural contaminations.

Plants are always close to everyday life, they became part of the traditional culture of the human being. So flowers, plants and spices are the core of the crossed history between people and countries. Explorations, trade exchanges, migrations, all contribute to create the ethnobotanical tradition of a country.

Ethnobotanists aim to document, describe and explain the complex relationship between cultures and uses of plants, focusing primarily on how plants are used, managed and perceived across human societies. This includes employments as food, clothing, currency, ritual instruments, medicine, dying products, construction materials, cosmetic ingredients and a lot more.

The ethnobotanist would like to discover, collect, and pass down the knowledge to younger generations. They aspire to support the cultural tradition and to conserve the bio-cultural diversity. In this ti

me where globalization seems to flatten out knowledges, ethnobotany becomes an essential vehicle to value diversity and achieve a multicultural society.

Plants tell us tales…

Lecture Invitation

Are you curious to learn more about the folkloristic traditions of the Maltese islands and their connection to the islands environment and history?

Carmelite Priory Courtyard

We, at the Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri, want to invite you for a lecture by Dr. Simona Lippi on her ethnobotanic research in the Maltese Archipelago. She will show a short video about the various aspects of Maltese tradition and present the findings of her research. The Ethnobotanic lecture will be held on Monday 3rd of March between 18:00pm. and 20:00pm.m., at the Carmelite’s Priory in Mdina.

Please confirm your attendance by sending an email on hwawar.fjuri@gmail.com

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L-Ikla Workshop – Flowers & herbs in food and kitchens

when honey bees dance
waggling provocative tail…
queen bee smiles sweetly

 John Freeman

Flowers have been associated with food for centuries with different cultures, such as the Greeks, Chinese and Romans, incorporating flowers in their traditional recipes. Herbs of course give that added flavour and spark to food.

Which flowers do you incorporate into your traditional dishes? Which “secret” herbs do you incorporate in your liqueur, tea and/or Syrup? Do you have a recipe involving flowers to share? How are flowers and herbs incorporated to add health and vitality into your food?

How do you dry and store edible flowers or herbs? How do you candy flowers? Do you have a story to tell about bees, flowers and honey? Come and share your culture and family’s stories relating to flowers, herbs and food.

Censu Caruana and Simona Lippi.

Workshop Invitation

What if we even met eachother to exchange these stories, be they personal, ethnic, cultural, spiritual or traditional, on the use of herbs and flowers?

We, at the Proġett Ħwawar u Fjuri, want to invite you just for that! Join us at our first workshop, L-Ikla, where we will exchange our stories on Saturday 1st of March between 9:00a.m. and 12:00a.m., at the Carmelite’s Priory in Mdina.

The workshop will be facilitated by Censu Caruana and Simona Lippi.

How to Participate?

If you wish to take part in the workshops, please send us a letter of motivation on hwawar.fjuri@gmail.com by Monday 24th of February. All accepted participants will be given a gratuity after the workshop for participating and sharing their stories with us. Should you wish to apply, but not want to be photographed, please feel free to contact us to make the necessary arraignments.

Workshop Information

The workshop, which is restricted to around 8 participants, will be facilitated to invite participants into sharing their stories of flowers and the use of herbs on the theme of the workshop. After the workshop, the stories shared will be used by the facilitator to compile a general narrative, whilst respecting everyone’s anonymity . The narratives and photography of the workshops will be reproduced at the Carmelite Priory in Mdina during the closing photographic exhibition of the project. The workshops will be attended by a professional photographer, who will take pictures of the workshop, unless advised otherwise by the participants. In the compilation of narratives, the anonymity of each participant will be ensured.

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The Project

Ħwawar u Fjuri‘ aims to highlight human experiences and stories which revolve around the use of herbs and flowers as used in kitchens, worship, love & romance, grief & sorrow and for beauty.

Description

Ħwawar u Fjuri’ aims to create a space were Maltese nationals and migrants can meet each other and share experiences through the narration of stories on the use of herbs and flowers in their own country and culture of origin.

Cultural, religious and ethnic differences may create the illusion that we are very different from one another. We hope that through the sharing of stories about the use of herbs and flowers, we can re-discover and celebrate each other’s humanity and commonalities. Encountering others can enrich one’s own self and culture. Although differences may be real and present, our commonalities are stronger. We want to remember and celebrate our common humanity. Join us in these workshops: L-Ikla, Namur, Talba, Demgħa and Qawmien.

‘Hwawar u Fjuri’ is proposing a model whereby Spirituality can be utilized as conducive to integration and a genuine search for one’s own identity. We believe that we find our true identity through the encounter with the other and not in isolation or through the exclusion of those who are different from us.

Through this project we want to propose a way forward on how religious persons and tradition can collaborate and work alongside secular NGOs and activists, who also desire the well-being for humanity and for society to become more just. The team working on this project is very diverse itself and we hope to be working with people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Integra Foundation and the Carmelite Priory Mdina want to lead the way in showing that notwithstanding our differences; be they ethnic, religious, spiritual or ideological, through dialogue we can work together and contribute towards a society that promotes a Civilization of Love, where we share life as brothers and sisters in friendship. Thus, herbs and flowers in this project become for us a point of contact, where we meet to get to know the other and ourselves through sharing of stories.

Collaboration

Integra Foundation, in collaboration with the Carmelite Priory Mdina designed ‘Ħwawar u Fjuri’ project which was presented with the President’s Creativity Award.

If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us on: hwawar.fjuri@gmail.com

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