In Malta, a unique and intriguing tradition can be observed in many of its churches. These churches often feature two clocks, one displaying the correct time and the other intentionally set to the wrong time. The purpose behind this unusual practice is deeply rooted in religious and cultural beliefs.
The second clock, with its incorrect time, is deliberately set this way to confuse the devil. The rationale behind this tradition is to prevent the devil from knowing the correct time of the mass services, thereby thwarting any potential disruptions.
This practice not only reflects a blend of deep religious faith and local superstition but has also become a distinctive feature of Maltese cultural heritage. It adds an element of charm and curiosity, especially for visitors to the island. While one of these clocks shows the accurate time, typically the one on the right, the other continues to play its part in this age-old tradition of safeguarding church services from diabolical disturbances.
Living in Malta for almost a year as a digital nomad, I immersed myself in the local culture, explored the stunning landscapes, and enjoyed the Mediterranean lifestyle. However, it was only after stumbling upon an online revelation about the unique church clock tradition that I became aware of this peculiar aspect of Maltese culture.
Initially, when I inquired with some of the locals about the two different times displayed on church clocks, many were as clueless as I was. It seemed that this tradition, while ingrained in the island’s history, was not universally known among all residents. This added to the mystery and charm of the discovery.
However, upon delving deeper and conversing with more locals, I came across some who were well-versed in the tradition. They shared the fascinating story behind it – the intentional setting of one clock to the wrong time as a strategy to confuse the devil and protect the sanctity of the mass services. This blend of religious belief, superstition, and practicality was beyond intriguing.