Culture
Happy birthday! National poet Dun Karm Psaila was born 150 years ago today
Dun Karm’s National Anthem was sung for the first time in 1923.

Benjamin Abela

Few languages around the world are as historically rich as Maltese. The different influences present within the language serve as living proof of the country’s various colonisers and the nation’s journey to independence.

Way back, Maltese was frequently regarded as the ‘language of the poor’, with the higher classes oftentimes communicating in Italian.

Having said that, a number of key personalities throughout Malta’s history helped draw attention to the sheer intricacy of the country’s language so that, nowadays, it’s as well-respected as its foreign counterparts.

Probably the most important of such personalities is Dun Karm Psaila, Malta’s national poet, who would have been celebrating his 150th birthday today!

Born in Haz-Zebbug in 1871, Dun Karm spent his early years living with his mother as his father, a sailor, spent a lot of time overseas.

At the age of 23, Dun Karm became a priest, and a year later he started teaching a variety of subjects at the seminary – these included Italian, Latin, English, and geography, to mention a few.

At pretty much every step of his life, Dun Karm was also writing poetry; although up until 1912, he wrote exclusively in Italian.

Having said that, it’s safe to say that his poetic contributions in Maltese have had a much larger impact on the country’s literary history.

Perhaps his most notable works in the Maltese language include Il-Jien u lil hinn Minnu, L-Innu ta’ Filghodu, and L-Innu ta’ Filghaxija, although the project that concretised his name as Malta’s national poet was undoubtedly the National Anthem.

Dun Karm’s National Anthem was sung for the first time in 1923, although it wasn’t until 1941 that it was officially recognized as Malta’s National Anthem.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary since Dun Karm’s birth, The National Archives of Malta took to social media to post an image of a passport application form that the poet had submitted in 1925 to travel overseas.

Happy birthday Dun Karm!

18th October 2021


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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