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马耳他人——争强好胜的地中海民族

更新时间:2019/2/2 9:07:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why are the Maltese so competitive?
马耳他人——争强好胜的地中海民族

There is a competitive nature that permeates through Malta so raw and unbridled that it’s written into the skyline of its capital, Valletta, and permeates across all walks of life on the archipelago.

马耳他举国上下都弥漫着一种竞争的天性,非常直接、奔放,融于首都瓦莱塔(Valletta)的天际线,也渗透进了这个岛国的各行各业。

I’m talking about pika – a Maltese word that roughly means ‘a neighbourly rivalry’, but is one of those terms that feels like a fool’s errand when foreigners try to interpret it.

我所说的竞争天性被称作“皮卡”(pika),是一个马耳他语词语,大概的意思是“邻里竞争”。外国人很难理解明白。

Pika is, as Professor George Cassar, who teaches heritage and cultural tourism at the University of Malta explained, what drives Maltese to outdo their immediate rivals. Usually, this rivalry involves followers of different saints within the same town – a ‘this-town-isn’t-big-enough-for-both-of-us’ attitude – and ranges from benign sportsmanship to premeditated aggression.

在马耳他大学(University of Malta)教授遗产和文化旅游的卡萨尔教授(George Cassar)解释说,“pika”促使马耳他人要去超越眼前的竞争对手,通常是同一个城镇里朝拜不同圣徒的信仰者之间的竞争,颇有一种“一山不容二虎”的意味,这样的竞争有些是友好的体育竞赛,也有的是长期存在的敌对情绪。

“Pika is what drove the Maltese in 1958 to tear down and rebuild the Carmelite Basilica that today defines Valletta’s horizon with a 42m-high dome, just to overshadow the Anglican Cathedral next door,” he said.

卡萨尔说:“正是皮卡促使马耳他人在1958年拆除并重建了加尔默罗大教堂(Carmelite Basilica),只是为了比隔壁的圣公会大教堂(Anglican Cathedral)更胜一筹。如今,穹顶高达42米的加尔默罗大教堂是瓦莱塔地平线上最耀眼的标志。”

Pika is also what brought about a man getting hit over the head with a flowerpot, according to the Times of Malta, during a festival in August last year. Meanwhile, just less than two weeks later, two parishes exchanged sacrilegious insults about their rivals’ Virgin Mary statue – ‘Ours is the most beautiful statue. Yours is the ugliest in Malta’; also an example of pika.

据《马耳他时报》(Times of Malta)报道,去年8月的某个节日期间,也是由于“pika”,一名男子头部被花盆砸中。此事过去不到两周,又有两个教区的民众互相辱骂对方的圣母玛利亚雕像——“我们的雕像是最美的,你们的是马耳他最丑的。”这也是个“pika”的例子。

That these last two events took place so close in time is no coincidence. Every year, Malta’s festa season, when villages celebrate their patron saints by throwing big feasts, peaks between June and September. At this time, pika summons the islands’ hot-blooded Mediterranean spirit to the fore, as parishes compete in a paradoxically sacrilegious celebration of the sacred. Rivalries have become so intense that festas have had to be partially cancelled, the most recent in 2004, due to the threat of violence.

这两件事间隔的时间如此之短并非巧合。每年的6至9月是马耳他节日季(festa)的高潮,在节日季期间,各个村庄都会举行盛大的节日活动,颂扬他们的守护神。这段时间,“pika”会激发这个岛国热血的地中海精神,各教区颂扬神灵的方式反而亵渎了神灵,很是自相矛盾。竞争进行得非常激烈,以至于部分活动被迫取消,最近的一次是在2004年,因为担心会有暴力事件。

Year after year, followers of respective patron saints attempt to outspend and outdo their neighbouring parish in a contentious crusade for showmanship that seems truly fit for the descendants of the Knights Hospitaller, the medieval sect of Catholic warriors from Jerusalem that ruled Malta for about 300 years from 1530. To this day, Maltese festa pageantry, artefacts and ornaments take cues from the Baroque style that defined the 17th- and 18th-Century architecture of the Order of St John, such as the hand-held carriage that transports the statue of the saint to the festa’s main stage, and the hand-carved wooden centrepiece for the Sunday feast. In recent years, festas have included competing theatre companies and a new record for hoisting 711 flags in a village.

年复一年,各守护神的信徒都想在花费上超过邻近教区,比对方做得更好,一场炫耀运动由此形成,颇具争议,但似乎又特别符合医院骑士团(Knights Hospitaller)的后裔。医院骑士团在中世纪时由来自耶路撒冷的罗马天主教士兵组成,从1530年开始统治马耳他,长达约300年。17、18世纪圣约翰骑士团的建筑采用了巴洛克式,直到今天,马耳他节日时的庆典、工艺品和装饰品仍会借鉴这种风格,比如将圣人雕像运送到节日主舞台的手推车,以及手工雕刻的用于周日宴会上的重要木器。近年来,节日期间跑来竞争的还有戏剧公司,最新记录是在一个村子竖起了711面旗子。

“Various parts of Malta are hotter on the pika register than others,” Cassar had informed me. So I visited one of these towns last November hoping to get a better grasp on the concept. Located in central Malta, the town of Qormi hosts an intense rivalry between followers of St George and St Sebastian that has built up a reputation over the past years, and I went to learn why.

卡萨尔和我说过:“马耳他有些地方对皮卡这个竞争概念更加热衷。”因此,去年11月,我去了马耳他一个小镇,希望能更好地理解皮卡这个概念。戈尔米镇(Qormi)地处马耳他中部,过去几年圣乔治(St George)和圣塞巴斯蒂安(St Sebastian)的信徒在这里竞争激烈,小镇因此声名远扬,我去到那里一探究竟。

Mario Cardona, a St Sebastian supporter, anthropologist and professor at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, picked me up at my hotel in northern Malta for the 30-minute drive to Qormi, about halfway across the island. (When there is no traffic, Malta can feel incredibly small.)

马耳他艺术科技学院(Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology)人类学家卡多纳教授(Prof Mario Cardona)是圣塞巴斯蒂安的信徒。他开车到我位于马耳他北部的酒店接上我,又开车30分钟到了戈尔米镇,这大约穿越了半个马耳他岛。(路上没车的时候会感觉马耳他特别小。)

The following of saints in Malta dates back to the Middle Ages, including the cult of St George in Qormi, Cardona told me as we drove. But St Sebastian wasn't venerated here until 1813, when the plague hit Malta and villagers vowed to build a statue of the patron saint of epidemics in exchange for delivery from the outbreak.

路上卡多纳告诉我,马耳他追随圣人的历史可以追溯至中世纪,当时就有戈尔米镇的圣乔治信徒团体,但直到1813年才开始有人信奉圣塞巴斯蒂安。当时马耳他爆发瘟疫,村民们立志建造一尊传染病守护神圣塞巴斯蒂安的雕像来阻止疾病传播。

We pulled up to a fork in the road in the centre of a town painted the colour of desert sand, redolent to this traveller of the rocks that compose Jerusalem, and certainly closer in appearance to cities on the southern side of the Mediterranean. After all, the Arabs left a mark on Malta that lingers until today via the island’s language, which is by far more Arabic in origin than Italian. Yet Malta is still very much a European nation, one that has long remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church.

我们把车停在了一个三岔路口。这里位于小镇的中心,小镇被刷成了沙漠的颜色,让人想到耶路撒冷城的岩石,当然更像是地中海南岸的城市。毕竟,阿拉伯人在马耳他留下了印记,并通过语言保留至今——马耳他语在起源上更接近阿拉伯语而不是意大利语。但马耳他仍然是个欧洲国家,长期以来一直忠实于罗马天主教会。

“Pika is Mediterranean,” said Cassar, explaining that Spain and Italy also are wont to display colourful festival rivalries. “But the closest example to our festa is the Sicilian type.” For example, like Maltese celebrations, Sicilian festas carry the statue of the patron saint along the streets of the town – and Sicilians are also very partial to over-the-top firework displays.

“皮卡是地中海地区独有的特性,”卡萨尔说。他说西班牙和意大利也就节日有各种各样的竞争。“但跟我们节日最类似的是西西里的。”比如,西西里的节日活动也和马耳他一样,有守护神雕像游街的环节,而且西西里人也非常喜欢盛大的烟火表演。

Yet, the rivalries exhibited on Malta have an additional spark of vitriol that is something uniquely Maltese.

但马耳他的竞争中还包含一丝尖酸,是马耳他所独有的。

We arrived at a building whose beige stone façade was adorned with hundreds of large light bulbs and a draped green banner – the colour favoured by followers of St Sebastian in Qormi.

我们来到一栋建筑前,米色的石头外墙上装饰着数百个大灯泡,还悬挂着一条绿色的横幅,这是戈尔米镇圣塞巴斯蒂安信徒喜欢的颜色。

Beneath the banner, Cardona’s fellow St Sebastian supporters were waiting for me, including the president of their association, known in Malta as a ‘band club’.

横幅下方,卡多纳的圣塞巴斯蒂安支持者同仁们正在等我,其中包括协会的主席。在马耳他,这种协会被称为“乐队俱乐部”。

Band clubs are volunteer organisations that are found throughout islands. As their name suggests, they are gathering halls for marching bands – a legacy of British military bands – but they’re also social clubs, equipped with bars, pool halls and even a radio station, as well as informal religious links to the church with their own chaplain and chapel.

乐队俱乐部属于志愿组织,马耳他全国各地都有,顾名思义,是行进乐队聚集的地方。行进乐队是英国军乐队的遗留产物,但乐队俱乐部也是社交俱乐部,有酒吧、台球厅,甚至还有广播电台,也有自己的牧师和教堂,与教会保持着宗教联系,但不是很正式。

Band clubs in Malta are also the epicentre of the most competitive forms of pika. Just by visiting the St Sebastian band club, I joked that they could use this interview as material for next year’s festa, which aroused a wide-eyed expression in one man, who appeared to already be cooking up a dubious plan how to outshine the neighbouring St George band club the following summer.

马耳他的乐队俱乐部也是最体现皮卡这种竞争之心的地方。我开玩笑说,他们可以把我这次的采访之行当作第二年节日的宣传材料。这让一名男子非常吃惊,原来他已经在策划如何在第二年夏天把邻近的圣乔治乐队俱乐部给比下去了。

Last year, St Sebastian’s festa was predictably extravagant. In the week-long celebrations, according Cardona, their band club spent 100,000 on sumptuous feasts, gigantic fireworks displays and imported entertainment, including a special appearance by UK X Factor winner Ben Haenow in Qormi – a town of about 16,000 people.

去年,圣塞巴斯蒂安的节日活动不出所料地耗费巨资。据卡多纳说,在为期一周的庆祝活动中,他们的乐队俱乐部豪掷10万欧元,举办了华丽的宴会、盛大的烟花表演,还从外面请人来表演,包括英国音乐选秀节目《X音素》(X Factor)的冠军翰劳(Ben Haenow),而戈尔米小镇的人口才不过1.6万。

“Pika is the need to keep making things bigger in order to outdo your rival,” Cardona told me. “It’s having to satisfy a need to constantly prove to yourself, to your kin and to outsiders. Rather than going for what is beautiful and entertaining, we go for what would be a first in our village.”

卡多纳告诉我:“皮卡就是想要不断扩大规模来超越对手。它满足你向自己、向亲人,以及向外界证明自己的需要。我们追求的不是好看和有趣,而是成为镇里的第一。”

The size of Malta, the EU’s smallest nation with a population of around 430,000, may offer the best clue as to why rivalries here are so intense. “Geographical smallness intensifies rivalry and pika, as people can easily monitor what their neighbours are doing, thinking and saying,” Cassar said. “The competitive instinct in human beings does the rest.”

人口约43万的马耳他是欧盟最小的成员国,国家大小也许最能说明这里的竞争为何如此激烈。卡萨尔说:“地域狭小加剧了竞争和皮卡,因为人们轻而易举就能观察到邻居在做什么、想什么、说什么。剩下就是因为人类争强好胜的天性了。”

On the second floor of the St Sebastian band club, in a room resembling a hall in an Italian museum that included an 80,000 crystal chandelier and a painting of Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca from the Order of St John, Cardona and three other men continued to mull over the current state of pika on the islands.

在圣塞巴斯蒂安乐队俱乐部的二楼,卡多纳和另外三名男子还在思索马耳他皮卡的现状。房间布置得像是意大利博物馆的展厅,吊着一盏价值8万欧元的水晶灯,还挂着一幅圣约翰骑士团团长丰塞卡(Manuel Pinto da Fonseca)的画像。

“When the festa season comes, everyone likes to spend as lavishly as possible,” chimed Charles Saliba, secretary of the St Sebastian band club. In some ways, it’s bigger than Christmas; the village festas draw back the Maltese diaspora and are a time when old friends reunite.

“节日季到来时,所有人都想使劲花钱,”圣塞巴斯蒂安乐队俱乐部的秘书长萨利巴(Charles Saliba)说。在某种程度上,节日季比圣诞节还重要,在国外的马耳他人会回国,这是老朋友团聚的时刻。

“How much influence does the church have in your affairs today?” I probed while examining a long timeline of portraits of Catholic chaplains hung on the wall behind Cardona.

“教会现在对你们举办节日活动还有多大影响?”我一边问,一边研究着卡多纳身后墙上长长的罗马天主教神父画像年表。

“The church takes the charge of the internal sacred part of the feast, and the band club organises its own feast. Sometimes the church priest will get involved if he doesn't like some lyrics we have written,” giggled Charles Spiteri, the band club’s president, alluding to the church’s attempts to censor the more profane material that rival parishes tend to publish, including songs, posters and banners about their saint.

“教会负责宴会中的宗教部分,乐队俱乐部自己组织宴会。有时候,如果神父不喜欢我们写的东西也会参与进来,”乐队俱乐部主席斯皮泰里(Charles Spiteri)笑着说,暗示教会会审查对方教区打算公开的一些亵渎神明的内容,包括歌曲、海报和关于对方圣人的横幅。

“My personal opinion,” said the fourth man, John Camilleri, “and maybe they don't agree with me; I don't care much.” They all laughed. “I blame the church for a big part of the pika in Malta.”

另一名男子卡米列里(John Camilleri)说:“我个人认为,也许他们不同意,但我也不是很在乎。”大家都笑了。“我认为教会要对马耳他的皮卡负很大责任。”

“It’s true!” applauded the band club president.

“没错!”俱乐部主席鼓着掌说。

“In Maltese festas, favouritism is exhibited by priests supporting one saint over another, who elect their favoured parish to hold the grandest feast while their rivals are forced to hold a less-decorated ‘secondary feast’,” Camilleri explained.

卡米列里解释说:“在马耳他的节日期间,神父们会表现出偏爱某一位圣人,他们会选让自己喜欢的教区举办最隆重的盛宴,而竞争对手则被迫举行不那么豪华的‘次要宴会’。”

“Some priests even count lightbulbs in the secondary feast to see that they didn't have as many as the primary feast. Secondary feasts cannot light up the dome of a church, either,” he said. “This creates a lot of pika.”

“有些神父甚至会去数次要宴会上的灯泡数量,看有没有超过主要盛宴。次要宴会也不能点亮教堂的圆顶,这就造成了竞争更加激烈。”

In 2002, the Archdiocese of Malta tried to reign in the unruliness of Maltese festas, fearing that they were damaging church decorum, but the attempt ultimately fell flat. Efforts to set up a censorship board to eliminate all provocative materials from the festas and other measures failed, and the church official that led the campaign became “rather disliked” on the islands, Cassar explained diplomatically.

2002年,马耳他大主教辖区曾试图控制马耳他节日活动的失控现象,担心它们破坏教会礼仪,但最终以失败告终。当时成立了审查委员会来杜绝节日活动中一切有争议的内容,但连同其他措施都失败了,卡萨尔婉转地表示,领导这场行动的教会官员在马耳他变得“相当不受欢迎”。

This is nothing new in Malta. “No bishop has ever really managed to control Maltese pika. It’s always the one against the many – and without its faithful the church is nothing,” Cassar affirmed.

这在马耳他并不是什么新鲜事。卡萨尔断言:“没有哪个主教真的控制了马耳他的皮卡。永远是以少对多,而且没了忠实的信徒,教会什么都不是。”

Yet, although festa expense and showmanship seems to be ever increasing, the level of decorum seems to have improved in Malta in recent decades, with or without the exhortations of the church. Camilleri remembers much more vulgar festas in his youth. “On one occasion, they painted chickens red (the colour of their band club) and threw them on their opponents to say that they were chickens,” he chuckled. “On another occasion, when a march of a rival band was passing by, someone threw urine over the people from the balcony.”

然而,尽管节日花费和炫耀行为不断增加,但近几十年来,不管有没有教会敦促,马耳他的礼仪水平似乎都有所提高。卡米列里还记得小时候的节日远比现在粗俗。他笑着说:“有一次,他们把鸡涂成红色(对方乐队俱乐部的颜色),然后把鸡扔向对手,表示对方是胆小鬼。还有一次,当对方的乐队经过时,有人从阳台上向他们泼尿。”

Thank the saints those days are long gone.

感谢圣人,那些日子早已远去。

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