Krakow Nativity Scene Contest

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The Kraków Nativity Scenes is a unique style of art in the whole World. Its form has been formalized in 19th century Kraków, between bricklayers and contractors, looking for some extra income during Autumn/Winter time.

Building of portable puppet show, with Holy Family located on the first floor of Marquette with many towers and turrets and containing elements specific for old Kraków's architecture was quite popular hobby before the First World War. This custom abandoned in the 1920s and 1930s until 1937, when people keen on Kraków's tradition organized First Kraków's cribs contest. Since then, excluding short break during Second World War, the custom lasted until today and it keeps growing.

Every year on first Thursday of December before noon around Adam Mickiewicz monument in the Main Square crib makers are gathering to show their newest crafts. Crowd of Kraków citizens, families, tourists and TV camera operators' teams surrounds them.

Museum (which organizes contest since 1945) employees are registering applications. Each crib has got unique own registration number.

All cribs are quite picturesque. For many years, number of applications is quite stable - between 120 and 160, where most of applications are crafts made by children and teenagers.

At the midday, when a bugle call is played at St. Mary's church's tower, crib makers are taking their crafts to Museum at Krzysztofory Palace, where Jury of the contest is located. Jury is being lead by Museum's Director and it employs ethnologists, art historians, artists, employees of Historical and Ethnographical Museums.

The Kraków Nativity Scenes contest is open, it can be applied to by anyone disregard the age or place of living. Each contestant can apply with maximum of three cribs. Jury is evaluating them anonymously, and authors are revealed only after prizes and commends announcement.

Before jury would focus on detailed evaluation of particular cribs, they need to decide if all cribs are fulfilling the contest criteria. If the crib is not fulfilling them to be recognized as Kraków's crib, it cannot take part in the contest even if it is the most beautiful crib ever seen.

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