Post-Competition Exhibition of Krakow Creches

A presentation of the most interesting and impressive Krakow creches, selected from among those entered in this year's sixty-first edition of the COMPETITION FOR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL KRAKOW CRECHE (more...).

In his famous "Przewodnik dla zwiedzających Miasto i okolice" / "Guidebook for Visitiors to the City and Its Environs" published in 1938, Professor Karol Estreicher wrote as follows about the old Krakow tradition of making Christmas creches: "Around Christmas, masons and small boys in Krakow promenade around singing carols and carrying their creches and stars. The Krakow creche is usually made of paper and includes a small stage, upon which the hidden creche-makers animate small figures that portray Highlanders, Jews, Cossacks, King Herod, and others. The creche is certainly one of Poland's peculiarities. (...) The custom of assembling Nativity scenes supposedly originated with Saint Francis, who in the 13th century created an entire mystery cycle about the Birth of Christ. In Poland, this custom became popular in churches as early as the 14th century, no doubt thanks to the Franciscan Fathers (see the creche in St. Andrew's Church in Krakow). In subsequent centuries, the creators of creches began bringing the figures inside them to life, effectively creating something akin to small marionette theatres. Apart from retaining reverence towards the Nativity, creches began to include comic figures that were very familiar to the people and thus often highly humorous. These portrayed Jews, Cossacks, old cantankerous men, and the like. The portrayal of some types went so far as to cause offense, which resulted in presentations being banned from churches. At that time, creches emerged from places of worship and people began to promenade them around to homes and inns, often entering manor houses where the miniature creations entertained children. By the second quarter of the 19th century, this national custom had achieved popularity in Krakow, leading a local writer to draft a mystery cycle for the city's street creche-makers. Thus was created the 'Krakow creche,' a tradition taken up by local masons who, with no employment in the winter, nurtured the custom as it allowed them to gain additional income through creche-making. (...) The creche-making tradition died during the Great War and did not reappear immediately afterwards. The custom of promenading creches around people's homes also vanished. Happily, this tradition seems now to be experiencing a revival."

The first-ever competition for the most beautiful Krakow creche was organized under the auspices of the Historical Museum of Krakow in 1937. The typical Krakow creche is inspired by the city's architecture and local traditions. The most frequently used architectural motifs echo the towers of St. Mary's Church, the Barbakan, the Florian Gate, and Sigismund's Chapel. Creche-makers often incorporate characters from Krakow legends in their creations, including the likes of Queen Wanda, the Dragon of Wawel, and the famed Lajkonik. Each creche is a miniature version of Krakow, rendered in fairy-tale colors, joyous, often imbued with humor. These small miracles range in height from a few centimeters to several meters. The smallest of them would fit in a walnut shell or a matchbox.
Rate:
(38 votes)

On 23rd January, 2015, the Google Cultural Institute launched the Witold Lutosławski 1913-1994 multimedia exhibition, composed of archival photography, video...

Still from animation based on George the Hedgehog comics, photo: press release

While the Polish comics industry may not be as internationally recognised as that of the US or the Francophone countries, it certainly has its own share of...

Anna Mirkes-Radziwon, fot. Aleksandr Susłow

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute has just launched a brand-new Russian language version! However, unlike the Polish and English versions, the Russian site is...

Piotr Beczała, photo: Anja Frers / DG / Universal Music Polska

Three Polish opera singers – Piotr Beczała, Aleksandra Kurzak and Mariusz Kwiecień – have been nominated Readers' Award of the International Opera Awards,...

Katarzyna Figura, photo: East News

The shelves may have been empty, but there was plenty of glamour in Communist Poland for those who knew where to look. Here is a tribute to five actresses...

  •  
  • 1 of 468

Katarzyna Klimkiewicz and Dominga Sotomayor were awarded as the best international directors of the 11th Femina Women's Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro.

Katrzyna Krakowiak Spirit of the Staircase, 2013, image courtesy of the artist

Katarzyna Krakowiak has created a project devoted to the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo, as part of the MoMA’s Post online-research platform.

Museum Palace in Wilanów

"Ida" Pawła Pawlikowskiego walczy o People's Choice Award, jedyną z Europejskich Nagród Filmowych przyznawaną przez publiczność. Głosowanie potrwa do 31...

The Laszczyk Residence

  •  
  • 1 of 255

The culinary tastes of the generations born in the PPR (the Polish People’s Republic) were shaped mostly by canteen food and home cooking, which was based on...

Throughout centuries, Poland has been populated by very diverse ethnicities and linguistic groups, all of which have left a mark. Here's a look at some of the...

Judas Priest, British Steel, cover art: Rosław Szaybo

Vinyl records combine visual art with musical mastery - and aficionados take interest in both. Here's a compilation of the most recognized album art created by...

Andrzej Wajda during a rehearsal of "The Possessed" according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1971, Teatr Stary in Krakow, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum

Forty years since it irreversibly altered the Polish theatre scene, Wajda's adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possesed" resurfaces on the small screen. "The...

Culture.pl presents a guide of a phantom city - a Warsaw that no longer exists.

  •  
  • 1 of 468