Artistic crib by Gozitan artist Manwel Grech to be set up in Bethlehem
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The traditional Maltese Crib, which last year was exhibited in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City over the Christmas period, will this year be set up in Bethlehem, in Manger Square.
The crib was designed and made by Gozitan artist Manwel Grech and his team, and was selected last year as the winner of a national competition held by the Culture Directorate and Heritage Malta.
The crib has 17 figures, each wearing a Maltese costume, and it has Maltese elements and characters, such as ir-rieqed, l-ghageb, ix-xabbatur and Saint Gorg Preca. It also features a girna and a luzzu.
“This crib is testimony to Malta’s local talent,” stated Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici.
“In this way, we’re also exporting Maltese culture and we’re strengthening our Maltese profile. We’re bringing Maltese culture closer to foreign communities,” added Minister Bonnici.
The artistic crib will be in front of St Catherine’s Church, which is the main attraction for the entire world on Christmas Eve, since midnight Mass is celebrated there explained Director for Culture Mario Azzopardi.
Frank Zammit, the mind behind the idea of the creation of a crib, congratulated the Government of Malta, especially Minister Bonnici, for its participation in cultural diplomacy initiatives such as this.
It is estimated that 3 million tourists visit Bethlehem each year, and most of these visit it during Christmas time.
The artistic crib will be on display from the 16th of December, the start of the Christmas Novena, till the 20th of January.