Maltese is a Semitic language (like Arabic or Hebrew) and the second official language of Malta alongside English.
Maltese developed from Arabic but has always borrowed heavily from other languages, making it unique. It is now estimated that the Maltese vocabulary is mostly of Italian/Sicilian origin, 32% Sicilian-Arabic and 6% English with some influence from French.
An interesting tradition takes place in Malta on a child’s first birthday. On the day, a tray of objects is placed on the floor and the baby is then put nearby and allowed to make its way to the tray. Whatever item they pick up from the tray signifies their future in some way. Traditional objects for the tray include: an egg for happiness; a pen for a desk job; coins for wealth; a ball for sporting prowess; rosary beads for the Church; scissors for tailoring; a book for a lawyer or a hammer for a carpenter. Recently more modern items have been added to the tray such as a stethoscope (for a doctor) or a CD (for a DJ).