A traditional women’s costumes which has disappeared
from the Islands of Gozo is the Faldetta or Ghonnella. Nobody knows
the origin of this stiffened head dress. Many say it derives from
the eastern veil, or from Spanish mantilla. Others maintain that
it was first introduced in 1222 as a sign of mourning by the women
of Celano (Italy) who were expelled to Malta following the massacre
of their menfolk.
Yet another theory is that its origin is evolved
from necessity for women to veil their head when entering a church.
The poorer country girls, lacking cloaks or lace shawls, placed
a spare skirt over their head. The Ghonnella is made of cotton or
silk and is always black in colour.