Brilli .. the Gozitan game which is destined to die

It’s been around forever and today is unique to the village of Gharb: the game “Brilli’ brings together a group of men in the street. TVM introduces us to this traditional game and to four charming characters who play the game on Sundays and holidays.

Every Sunday in St. Peter’s Square in Gharb a group of men meet for a game of Brilli (skittles).

Charlie Cauchi said “we don’t exactly know the origin of this game. We definitely know it is very old with some who suspect that it is coming from the Knights.”

The sound of the ball hitting the skittle interrupts the silence

“Basically you have 9 pins or skittles. Each worth different points and the purpose of the game is to reach 24 points.”

At least 5 must play this game which is played in the street.

“Sometimes the ball goes under a car and you can’t get it out but anyway, we keep at it.”

You won’t come across this game in Malta or Gozo. It is only played in Gharb on days of rest, Sundays and holidays.

Joseph Cassar “this too will die because it should be played in San Lawrenz, Kercem, Ghasri and Zebbug but it has only remained here.”

Leli Micallef “it will end. It will end because there are no new players. We have a new comer called Marju. There used to be two others but they no longer come.”

The pressure for this game not to end is pinned on a 19 year old.

Marju Gauci: “if children younger than myself want to play the game, I will teach them as it was taught to me and I will interest them in the game.”

Joseph Cassar has been playing the game all his life. “I was the champion but now am no longer, as my hands have hardened.”

He regrets not being able to play as much as he wants. “you start playing but you can’t, you start to forget and that is a sign that you will soon meet your maker.”

After 50 years in Australia, Chalie Spiteri, “Dundee”, remembers how to play the game. “Its not something you ever forget .Like a language. It comes back to you. ”

For Valerio Bugeja, a Maltese who has lived in Gharb for 9 years, the game is so fascinating that he has included it in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory.

“We need to make a plaque saying that this game of skittles is played here for the whole world to know.”

These senior citizens are hoping that this game will be recognized by UNESCO for the game ‘Brilli’ to remain forever enshrined as a national heritage.

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