Friday, February 5, 2010
Another Famous Legend - The Golden Calf
The Golden Calf (L-Ghogol tad-Deheb)
The Hebrews first came to Malta after the fall of Jerusalem. They brought with them their most precious possessions among them the Golden Calf. It is written in the Bible that the Golden Calf was made for the Hebrews by Aronne the brother of Moses. Moses had climbed up Mount Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments from the Lord and during his long absence the people had grown very restless. To quieten them down, all the gold was gathered and melted down to mould the Idol. In Egypt, whence the Hebrews had recently come, the Apis Bull was an object of worship and the Hebrews were reviving his adoration in the wilderness.
Up to the year 1214 there were still 33 Hebrew families living in Malta. Though they were tolerated and allowed to have their own government 'alayma', they were reluctant to abide by the local laws and regulations and as a result they were forced to leave the island in 1494. It is said that prior to their departure they buried the Golden Calf in a field in Gozo. From that day on, many Gozitan folk began a feverish hunt for this precious treasure and eventually, the news spread that a farmer had unearthed the Calf in one of his fields. The king immediately sent for him but the man denied his ever finding the treasure. So he was sent to prison for the rest of his days and the Golden Calf remained a mystery as it still is to this day.
There are some who believe that when the Hebrews were leaving they embarked from Wied-il-Ghasri (Valley of the Grape Crusher)and that they buried the Golden Idol in the vicinity. This valley is a narrow inlet, not unlike a very small fjord facing North with high cliffs on both sides. In the not so distant past, some people were caught smuggling coffee and alcohol. So secluded and out of the way, it is the perfect haven for contrabandists. A small chapel situated on the road to Wied-il-Ghasri dedicated to the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Overlooking the creek is the Jordan Lighthouse which dominates the village of Ghasri. This majestic sentinel high up on a hill at the back has been standing since the first years of British occupation, inaugurated in 1853.
Prior to it constuction, a bonfire used to be kept alight at night to warn ships sailing to the North and West of the Island of Gozo.