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YULETIDE HUMS : Friday 7th December 2018 at 09:00 - Faculty of Arts Library, University of Malta, MSIDA





The Humanities, Medicine and Science Programme (HUMS) will be holding its annual Yuletide Symposium 

7 December 2018 • Faculty of Arts Library


The event is free of charge, however, for practical purposes, persons wishing to attend the Symposium are asked to email  Ms. Danielle Baldacchino to register.


09:00                                          Coffee and greetings


I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas ... The Story of the Snowflake

Edwina Brejza


A Treat not a Truce: World War II Christmas Dos at Kalafrana.

John A Schembri


Festive Flora and Fauna

David Dandria


Documenting Christmas: The Cultural Documentation of the Festive Season

Marc Kosciejew  (MAKS)


Christmas in Hospital: A Time of Good Cheer

Mariella Scerri


The Poetic Writings of Maltese Physicians: A Prescription for Christmas.

Anthony Fiorini

Seasonal Refreshments


Edwina Brejza : ‘I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...The story of the snowflake'

This presentation is set to two parts. The first part looks into the science of the snowflake, on how snowflakes form and their various shapes in nature. The second part focuses on the link between snowflakes and the Christmas season. The relationship between the image of snow and snowflakes and their association with Christmas will be highlighted, as well as the related commercial ties from years gone by to the present date.


John A Schembri : A Treat not a Truce: World War II Christmas dos at Kalafrana.

The central theme of this presentation deals with Christmas Mess menus during the Second World War that were organized for officers at the Kalafrana seaplane base on the south eastern coast of Malta.

The presentation first links the previous HUMS theme that commemorated World War I by giving a very brief introduction to the scope of the Base in 1916, the geographies of the localities on the southern coast that favoured such a location. The menus, dated 1939 and 1942, form the second aspect of the presentation and give the full details of the food on offer, with a six-course meal served. The list includes all the trappings of a Christmas do and celebration with selections of meat and salmon as main plates, and Christmas pudding and mince pies as deserts. The third part presents the menus with the food on offer as contrasts to the rationing system prevailing. The geographical division of the Maltese Islands into a number of regions to ensure an equitable supply to all areas is highlighted. The range of food restrictions can be seen in images of queues of people lining up streets being served at Victory Kitchens especially after 1941. The post-war fare served at similar events followed the same pattern of Christmases past.


David Dandria - Festive Flora and Fauna

The full title of my presentation is "Festive Flora and Fauna". In short, this will be a review of plants and animals associated with Christmastime including biological, folkloristic and traditional aspects of the different species.


Marc Kosciejew - Documenting Christmas: The Cultural Documentation of the Festive Season

The Christmas season is a festive celebration combining religious and secular ideals of family, love, peace, generosity, and goodwill. This celebration has largely been materialized and mediated through diverse kinds of cultural documentation. From books and periodicals to greeting cards and advertisements, from carols and seasonal songs to movies and television shows, many of our interactions, interpretations, and understandings of this annual holiday is facilitated by documents and through our practices with them. This presentation therefore argues that documenting Christmas has been and continues to be an essential feature of this festive season’s enduring cultural impact and significance and our yuletide experiences.


Mariella Scerri - Christmas in Hospital: A Time of Good Cheer

This presentation aims to give a brief overview on Christmas celebrations in hospitals through the ages. It focuses mainly on two distinctive periods: the Medieval Period and the Victorian Period, World War 1 and World War 2. As becomes evident, spending Christmas in hospital has its perks, bringing with it an endless supply of gifts, good food, laughter and cheer.



Anthony Fiorini - 'The Poetic writings of Maltese Physicians - A Prescription for Christmas'.

This presentation is divided into two parts. The first highlights a number of Maltese physician poets, ranging from the well known to the unknown, giving examples of poems associated with doctoring. The second part, in a lighter tone, uses excerpts of their verse to concoct a recommended prescription for the festive season. 



Last Updated: 27 November 2018

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