A group of around 145 ramblers turned up for today?s walk, in excellent weather. From the Siggiewi main church (San Nikola), we made our way towards the hamlet of Hal Xluq with its picturesque chapel, dedicated to Marija Assunta. Nothing remains of the hamlet, except for the chapel itself. This chapel was built in 1596, on the site of an earlier chapel. The chapel was at one time used as a farmhouse, but is now in relatively good condition, and the feast of the Assumption is celebrated in the chapel in August. The chapel houses an 18th century organ that was recently restored by Robert Buhagiar, with Bank of Valletta funding.
Chapel at Hal Xluq
From Hal Xluq we back-tracked part of the way and then headed in the direction of the Qasam area, by the disused Qrendi air-strip, past the San Niklaw chapel, and on to the chapel dedicated to the Madonna tal-Providenza. In this area there used to also be a hamlet called Hal Kbir. The present chapel, on the site of an older one, was built between 1750 and 1753. The chapel was damaged twice by lightning.
A portico was therefore built to strengthen the church. This portico, with a stone-arched veranda, also provided a shelter for pilgrims coming from afar.
San Niklaw Chapel
From tal-Providenza we walked up a steep hill to the Laferla cross (is-Salib tal-Gholja) where we enjoyed a view of the southern part of Malta. From the Laferla Cross we went down via another road, lined with the Via Sacra, and used by believers during Good Friday events. It was then only a short walk back to Siggiewi centre.
Ramblers resting near the Tal-Providenza Chapel
Ian Hulland shares his thoughts
On the walk around Siggiewi last Sunday after we visited the church at Tax-Xluq, I asked everyone I met on the remainder of the walk, where the name “xluq” originated–unfortunately no one had any idea.
Anyway, as Maltese place names and area names have always interested me I made some enquiries and was sent the following today from a most reliable source;-
Re yesterday’s sms and Tax-Xluq. This name is derived from the previous name (now not in use anymore) of a small hamlet (rahal) Hal Xluq which was situated between Qrendi and Siggiewi. The name of this rahal comes down to us from a pure Arabic noun ‘xuluq’ which means scirocco or the Maltese xlokk. The name of this hamlet signifies the fact that the hamlet was either facing the xlokk or hailing from the xlokk. Very little is known about this hamlet and therefore very little can be deducted re whether it was hailing or facing the xlokk. But it is most surely the xuluq that got us this beautiful name of Xluq.
It has nothing to do with xlieq or xlieqa as these either mean a small pimple at the edge of the lips, or the white marking on a child’s finger nails, or the small cirrus altus clouds which we get in summer and which resembles the sweepings of a housewife. These clouds are sometimes called ‘Il-knis tal-Madonna’, that is ‘The Sweepings of our Virgin Lady’ But this is another story.
Anyway, interesting as this information is (to me at least) it occurred to me that I would love to share this with all the kind people who tried to think of the origins of the word, and anyone from RAM too.
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