Culture
1920s passport photo gives interesting insight into old Maltese life
The family was headed to the United States, presumably in search of a better life.

Benjamin Abela

It’s crazy to think about just how much life in Malta has changed in the past 100 years…

Testament to this is a passport photo shot in 1920 and shared to social media by The National Archives of Malta just yesterday.

Whilst there might not seem to be anything particularly interesting about the image at first glance, a closer look will give viewers a better idea of what life in Malta was actually like some 100 years ago.

For starters, it seems like standards for passport photos were very different back then, with a single image being used for three different people: Carmela Pellegrini from Senglea, and her two children, Roberto and Emmanuele.

According to the National Archives of Malta, this family was headed to the United States, presumably in search of a better life.

Interestingly enough, one of the kids included in the image is dressed as a monk, what with his darkly coloured robe, sandals, and rope belt.

One viewer took to the post’s comments section to give some insight into the reasoning behind this sartorial choice…

“In those days, [people] used to make vows,” a certain Doreen Galea wrote.

A vow can be best described as a ‘promise’ that a believer makes to God, oftentimes as a way of thanking the divine powers for their protection.

In the 1920s, Doreen says, some vows would entail “dressing up [one’s] kid in clerical clothes once a month or once a week.”

“When I was young, I used to see the occasional kid dressed usually as a monk or nun,” she concluded.

Did you know about this interesting bit of history?

The National Archives of Malta / Facebook & Instagram/Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island

22nd September 2023


Benjamin  Abela
Written by
Benjamin Abela
Benjamin is a Writer at Content House Group. With his background in journalism, marketing, and the arts, Benjamin enjoys finding the human aspect to any story he gets a hold of. When he's not too busy writing his next article, you could probably find him playing with his cats or performing on a stage.

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