Oh Silent Night – is the title of this year’s 50th edition of the Christmas Pageant, when the village of San Lawrenz is transformed into a a living Bible to narrate the most special story ever told.
The Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana launched this anniversary edition, saying that through the Christmas in Gozo programme, the Ministry gathers under one umbrella all the events that are organised during this festive season.
Dr Caruana said that this year the Pageant will also deliver a surprise, when using technology there will be a display where the traditional will meet with modern.
The Minister added that the Christmas programme of activities include a composite of traditions with a modern aspect of how Christmas is celebrated in these times.
Mayor of San Lawrenz Noel Formosa, thanked the Minister for the support of the Gozo Ministry in organising this and other activities in the village, and wished well for another successful evening for this popular Pageant.
As the evening goes on the story of our salvation will evolve. It starts from the village’s Parish Church, this unique pageant will take place on the church parvis and main streets of San Lawrenz, including the use of some of the village’s households. Many of villagers takes part in this event
This pageant has a long tradition. A couple of years after the Second World War, the parish priest Dun George Debrincat succeeded in producing a musical nativity play.
The participants were all males except for a few girls under twelve years who had a minor role. There were many hurdles to be surmounted. Costumes had to be sewn, scenes had to be painted, and so on, and all in a very difficult time.
Their efforts were rewarded with the event well attended. In the journal Ghawdex we read that the play It-Twelid ta’ Gesu Bambin was a great success and about 3000 people attended.
However the first real pageant was performed in 1969, when George Borg discovered that the costumes of those early productions had survived.
With just twelve days to go before Christmas Eve, he announced that they were to be put into use again, for the first Christmas pageant, when forty characters took part.
More and more people have joined in over the years, and nowadays over hundred and fifty take part in this very popular, annual and unique pageant.
So keep the date free and be sure not to miss this beautiful spectacle. It takes place in the Main Square and along the streets of San Lawrenz, on Sunday the 23rd of December, from 6.00pm.
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri