Current Affairs
Maltese ‘ftira’ to be submitted to UNESCO for consideration as intangible cultural heritage

The Government through its Cultural Directorate will be proposing our traditional Maltese sandwich il-ftira and its culinary art as the first local element to be on the list of UNESCO’S intangible cultural heritage.

This popular snack, which continues to be made in the traditional way using flattened sourdough bread, may end up on this list after Malta ratified the UNESCO convention on intangible cultural heritage in 2017.

Minister Owen Bonnici said, “the convention makes it clear that the decision needs to come from the people and not the Government. The stakeholders and the people in this sector pushed forward this proposal for the artisan Maltese ftira to be included in this UNESCO list of intangible heritage from around the world.”

Malta’s ambassador for UNESCO, Mons. Dott. Joe Vella Gauci, said that the application needs to be evaluated by UNESCO.

“The application needs to be followed up until it is finally accepted by the General Assembly of Intangible Heritage. Therefore our aim is that this process which began today is concluded this year.”

The National Board for Intangible Cultural Heritage is also considering submissions made by Maltese people about other local elements which may qualify. To date, these include Maltese lace, folklore singing (l-għana), the art of embroidery using gold thread, the traditionally baked dough used in religious feasts known as l-għażżiela, the game of skitters (brilli) which is only played in Gozo and falconry.