Christmas Cribs

Krakow Christmas Cribs

This custom began in XIX century in the neighborhood of Krakow by a very poor builders. During autumn and winter they started to build mobile stages to performance the story about Jesus Christ’ birth. It was a puppet performance and this mobile stages were built of weightless wood and the cardboard. One of the characteristic elements was very high towers – the same as in Krakow churches. Through the years during Christmas Time carolers with their cribs gathered at the Main Market Square and waited to be invited to rich families’ houses. After the 1st World War it seemed that this custom had been finished, but it was not true. On 21st December 1937 this tradition revived and the 1st Christmas Cribs competition took place in that day. Krakow Christmas Cribs are very characteristic in their architecture, rich, and full of colors. Towers of St. Mary’s Church, the chapel of Zygmunt’s dome of the Wawel Cathedral, Florian’s Gate, Barbakan and Cloth Hall on Main Market Square – are motives which carolers with the cribs used very often. The beautiful architecture of Christmas Cribs is marked by a lot of ornaments, stained glasses, and the puppets. Christmas Cribs have a lot of tiers and the recesses. You can find there not only the Holy Family with Jesus laying in the crib, but also Cracovians in their folk gears, angels, musicians, and the characters from Polish legends: Krakow’s Dragon, Lajkonik, Mr. Twardowski, and trumpeter from the tower of St. Mary's Church.

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