Contestants grapple with crazy game at religious festival in Malta

Valletta

Valletta (Photo credit: Antonio Caselli)

Off-line again for a few days so here’s a little something from 25th August, just one of those crazy festivals you get all over Europe.

 

 

 

A Place Near Valletta

There’s a place near Valletta
where you’d better beware.
Yes you’d better take care
if you’re travelling there
during the days of the feast.
St Julian’s Feast.

Yes there’s a place near Valletta
where you’re sure to get wetter
so just take it slow
if you’re aching to go
to the festival show
during the days of the feast.

At least that’s what I’m told.
For down on the beach
they bring out a pole
all covered in grease
and there’s only one goal –
to run the whole way
up the grease-covered pole,
to try to ascend
and then make a grab
for the flag at the end
and if you succeed
there’s a sumptuous prize guaranteed.

To succeed in the ‘gostra’,
for that’s what it’s called
attend to your posture
or else it’ll cost ya
and down, down, down you will fall.

So many try and so many fail
to scale the heights of the slippery pole.
They slip and they slide all in a dither,
they slither about and try to hang on
but their fingertips fail
and they forfeit their pride
tumbling down in spectacular glide
where they are destined to go –
into the Med, the welcoming Med,
the azure blue Med down below.

Yes there’s a place near Valletta
where you’re sure to get wetter
if you dare to take part in the show.

__________________________________________________________________________

25th August 2013 – headline from the Daily Mail

Notes:  Climbing the greasy pole… with painful consequences! Contestants grapple with crazy game at religious festival in Malta.  In the traditional ‘gostra’, a game stretching back to the Middle Ages, Maltese young men, women and children have to scrabble their way to the top.  If they manage the tricky feat, then they need to uproot one of the flags to claim their hard-won prizes.  The comical sight of contestants slithering to victory happens every year on August 25 for the religious feast of St Julian, patron of the town of St Julian’s, outside the capital Valletta

 

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