Nativity Scene Competition

13 July 2016

On the first Thursday in December participants gather at the statue of Adam Mickiewicz at the Rynek Główny to set off on a colourful pageant after the midday hejnał call.

Cracovian nativity scenes are known the world-over, and they have even been exhibited at the European Parliament. The designs, based on Kraków’s architecture and richly decorated with the Holy Family at the centre, date back to the 19th century. Building and showing nativity scenes was a way for bricklayers to make money during winter months. Unfortunately after the First World War the huge popularity of moving pictures meant that nativity scenes lost their appeal. Rescue came from a nativity scene competition held for the first time in 1937; apart from the years of the Second World War, the competition has been held every year until the present day and the tradition frequently passes from generation to generation.

On the first Thursday in December participants gather at the statue of Adam Mickiewicz at the Rynek Główny. After the midday hejnał, the pageant of nativity scenes sets off towards the Krzysztofory Palace, the home of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków, organisers of the event. Results are announced on the Sunday by the museum director, who also opens the post-competition exhibition held until the end of February.

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