Saturday 04 February 2023

Stories around Christmas – upcoming Story Café explores celebrations, customs and traditions

The SMITE project, run by the African Media Association of Malta (AMAM) with the support of NWAMI International Malta, will be organising its third Story Café event on Saturday 3rd December. The event, taking place at the Ronald McDonald House of Charities in Qawra between 10am and 12noon, invites members of Malta’s local and international communities to share their experiences of Christmas, and other celebrations, customs and traditions in different countries and cultural contexts.
Levi Jikong, SMITE project administrator at AMAM, said, “Christmas, like many other religious festivities, is celebrated in all four corners of the world. While the story of the nativity is pretty much the same everywhere, the way it is interpreted and celebrated varies greatly. SMITE’s Story Cafes exist specifically to give people from different cultures and backgrounds an opportunity to share the stories they grew up with and shaped their view of the world. We hope that the opportunity to also share our different stories about Christmas will continue to foster better understanding between all the communities that now call Malta home.”
SMITE, which stands for ‘Stereotypes & Mass Information Together Explored’ was launched in 2021. This project is fully funded with a €25,000 grant by the Iceland – Liechtenstein – Norway Active Citizens Fund, operated by SOS Malta. SMITE is also supported by the Ministry for Inclusion, Volunteering & Consumer Rights. The project’s name was chosen due to its phonetic resemblance to the Maltese verb ‘smajt,’ (‘I/you heard’), reminding us of how easily influenced we are by what is whispered in our ears. The concept of SMITE is based on the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s notion of the Single Story and how this impacts our perceptions of one another, our attitudes, and actions.
Maria Gabriele Doublesin, Chairperson of NWAMI International Malta, said, “It’s funny how some things which seem obvious to us aren’t to others, even when we are talking about the same subject. When it comes to Christmas traditions, a Maltese person won’t bat an eyelid when you mention Ġulbiena just like a resident of Caracas would find it perfectly normal to go to Church on Christmas Eve using roller skates. Wherever we live, we are surrounded by stories that help us create and explain the world we live in. The truth is that many of those stories are incomplete or one-sided and as communities everywhere become more diverse it’s important for us to share these stories to help us better understand each other.”
More information on the SMITE project is available at https://smite.mt. More information on the upcoming Story Café, including registration can be obtained by sending an email to acf.smite@gmail.com

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