Gozo
This town in Gozo celebrates Christmas a little differently: a magical live crib
Over 100 volunteers take part in Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem.

Jillian Mallia

ghajnsielem

Paul Scicluna / Flickr

Christmas time is approaching: decorations go up, shopping sprees begin. But this little town on Malta’s sister isle, Gozo, celebrates this magical time in a different way. Every year, the town of Għajnsielem, just up the hill from the Mġarr Harbour, organises a live crib on various dates during the month of December.

The nativity village, situated just beyond Għajnsielem’s main square in Ta' Passi Fields, comes to life with about 150 actors (usually made up of Gozitan locals) who take visitors back in time to Judea. The atmosphere is unique, with horses turning mills, villagers going about their jobs, shepherds inhabiting caves, animals roaming, and one poor couple tending to their newly-born son in a grotto.

ghajnsielem

Paul Scicluna / Flickr

We spoke to Kevin Cauchi, part of the organising team for this year’s live crib, about what goes on behind the scenes. “It all starts in October, when cleaning, maintenance of the wooden structures and construction of new attractions begin. These are done by volunteers with the assistance of the Għajnsielem Local Council and the Ministry of Gozo. Each NGO is responsible for a structure, for example St Joseph Band animates the bakery, the Għaqda Armar animates the tavern, and so on.” Mr Cauchi also noted that the Għaqda Drammatika Għajnsielem issues a call for actors to animate the crib, and over 100 volunteers are needed to animate every session.

ghajnsielem

Paul Scicluna / Flickr

It’s also great for families! Children can try their hand at various hands-on activities, with families enjoying unique surroundings of the Maltese countryside, and you can even indulge in the traditional Christmas cakes and a cup of mulled wine!

This year’s Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem is the 10th edition of the nativity village and many locals are already excited to experience this one-of-a-kind live crib. If you’re coming to Malta this December, be sure to stop by this impeccable town which brings to life the timeless Christmas story like never before. It’s truly a memorable experience where Maltese traditions and folklore are intertwined with the Maltese crib. Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem is an unmissable event this festive season!

Interested? Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem's animation dates can be found here.

3rd December 2018


Jillian Mallia
Written by
Jillian Mallia
A book lover, writer and globetrotter who loves exploring new places and the local gems that the Maltese Islands have to offer. An avid foodie and arts fanatic, Jillian searches the island and beyond for the perfect settings to write about.

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