The traditional ‘priedka tat-tifel’ or boy’s sermon, held during the Christmas Eve midnight mass is a Maltese Christmas custom whose origins date back to the 19th century. In fact, historical documentation seems to indicate that the first young preacher was 10-year old George Sapiano at the Luqa parish church in 1883.

The tradition has survived, albeit with a very important change – girls are now allowed to do it. And in several parishes now, it’s the ‘priedka tat-tifla’. 

Ritienne Attard, 11, is this year doing the honours at the parish of St. Paul the Shipwreck in Valletta. It’s no mean feat – in three months, she learnt about 2,000 words by heart.

“It takes me about half an hour to recite it all,” she says when we meet.

All that memorising work to do during the summer holidays can’t have been something to look forward to – was she taken aback when she got to know she was chosen do it?

“No, I felt very proud actually,” she says, a tad shyly.

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