Il-Quċċija is a Maltese tradition which is believed to predict a baby’s future. Discover more about this tradition held at a baby’s first birthday party.

Today I’ll be sharing with you one of the many interesting Maltese traditions that I have learnt about during my time in Malta, known as il-quċċija.  This tradition has been practised in Malta since the 18th century, and remains as popular today as it was when it first started out. The idea behind this tradition is to predict a baby’s future career or lifestyle.

Il-quċċija is normally done at the baby’s first birthday party when the baby’s parents invite close family and friends to their home to celebrate the occasion.  When it is time for the quċċija, a number of objects are placed a few metres away from the baby, and the baby is encouraged by all those present to crawl over to the objects and choose one.  All the objects placed there for the child to pick represent a different career or lifestyle, and the first object picked up by the child is said to be predictive of their future. 

Some of the objects used in the quċċija today are similar to the ones used when the tradition first started out.  However, most of the objects used nowadays reflect more modern careers, such as careers in I.T.  In the past, boys used to be presented with different objects to girls, reflecting the more traditional ideas regarding gender and career.  For example, boys would be presented with traditional tools, whereas girls would be presented with cooking utensils or crochet needles.  Nowadays, boys and girls are generally presented with the same objects, reflecting a change in society’s views of gender and career as well as a change in parents’ career aspirations for their children.

Some of the objects typically used for the quċċija, together with the careers they represent are as follows:

  • Stethoscope – Doctor
  • Geometry instrument – Architect
  • Calculator – Accountant
  • Bible or rosary beads – Priest or nun
  • Computer mouse – Career in I.T.
  • Paintbrush – Artist
  • Book – Author or journalist
  • Credit card – Banker 
  • Money – Successful businessperson 
  • Kitchen utensil – Chef

Discover more about other local traditions that you can check out on your next flight to Malta.

Author: Sabine Jung