The Nativity scene is one of the most important aspects of the Bible, and it’s definitely one of the first things that come to mind when you think of Christmas. For the tenth year in a row, a small village on Malta’s sister island wants to make sure that one of the first things that come to mind you think of the nativity scene, is actually Gozo.
Most of the time, you’ll see the odd small Nativity scene in the form of figurines dotted around village squares all over Malta. But for the last decade, Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem has really managed to be something else… thanks to several local volunteers who put the time in every year to set this up.
Located in Gozo, a mere couple of minutes’ walk from Mġarr Harbour, Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem aims to recreate the Nativity scene as if you were really there with life-like re-enactments from 150 actors animating the crib, transporting you back to Bethlehem circa 2000BC.
It features a life-size crib, constructed on 20,000 square metres of fields on a stretch of land known as Ta’ Passi. The village takes visitors back in time to Judea, complete with oil lamps, turn mills, grazing animals and costumed actors.
Highlight attractions include visiting several inhabited trades such as the bakery, carpenter, blacksmith, the fisherman and the tavern, where you’ll actually be able to purchase local food and wine to take home or be enjoyed in the picnic area.
The shepherds roaming around the surrounding fields really shows the attention to detail, along with the Roman Garrison patrolling ‘the streets of Bethlehem’ collecting taxes. You can also expects tons of live events in the Roman Area.
Leaving best to last, the highlight attraction (and the final stop) is the Grotto, where you’ll see Mary and Joseph’s infamous trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem (donkey included)… and of course the baby Jesus!
It runs until Sunday 6th January 2019, and although the nativity village is always open, there are only some days where it will be animated, so do check their website before making plans to travel north!