Traditional Maltese Crib

The nativity scene is still at the heart of Christmas in Malta and Gozo. Most families celebrate this season in a religious way. Locals enjoy the anticipation brought about by the Advent, and meet as a community in their village churches to celebrate Christmas Mass. On the 25th, families gather around tables full of traditional food.

One of the most traditional and folkloristic curiosities around this time of the year is the traditional nativity scene – the Christmas Crib.

Thousands of fathers spend time with their offsprings in an annual ritual of building and upgrading this tradition that may take different forms and uses different materials. Other amateur enthusiasts build mechanical cribs in their garages and prepare themselves to welcome passers-by who wish to visit their work as if it were an ad-hoc museum. Religious organisations and now also commercial companies have joined this tradition and offer a look into a miniature version of Betlehem and life around the nativity scene.

Below is a video of a Presepju – as it is known in Maltese.