christmas
Leave your feedback
LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK

Video ID: 994

Submitting Feedback

Malta’s love of Christmas cribs down the years

Description

Early 20th century Europe was defined by war and financial ruin but, every year, December 25 still brought festive relief.

This archive footage from PBS shows how talented modellers celebrated Christmas in Malta by creating beautiful nativity scenes.

Christmas cribs form a great part of the island’s tradition. In fact, a Maltese Christmas would not be the same without the traditional ‘presepju’ and ‘pasturi’. 

Cribs are positively everywhere, from private homes and garages to small chapels and large churches. 

Visiting cribs is still a popular activity at Christmas time, especially in Gozo.

Some of them are very artistic and elaborate, with mechanically moving figures, running water and much more. The degree of detail that comes from hours of meticulous work by dedicated craftsmen is incredible.

The earliest known Maltese crib was created at the Dominican Friars Church in Rabat in 1617.

The growth in popularity of crib building is said to have been led by a Franciscan friar from Sicily, Benedetto Papale, during Victorian times.

The crib building tradition in Malta has been kept alive by modellers and enthusiasts who continue to build cribs and showcase them to the public. 

It is thanks to them that this custom can still be enjoyed to this day.

Places Nearby

Restoring one of Malta’s iconic wartime Spitfires
malta at war
The Spitfire is easily the most famous plane of the Second World War. Its ground...
Celebrating almost 60 years of television in Malta
Gwardamanġa broadcasting in malta
Television in Malta was first introduced in 1957 but the only programmes that co...
Bikers without crash helmets on Malta’s garigue
Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq motorbike trials in malta
It seems almost unthinkable today. This footage from the PBS Archives shows comp...
Maltese TV meets the wives of Apollo 13
Gloria Mizzi
‘Houston, we’ve had a problem’ is the now famous phrase radioe...
St John Paul II’s First Visit to Malta in 1990
The historic pastoral visit took place between May 25th and May 27th in the year...
What powers does the President of Malta have?
Valletta, Malta Agatha Barbara
The President of Malta is the island’s head of state. Presidents serve a f...
Malta pays tribute to Sir Winston Churchill
Valletta, Malta churchill in malta churchill death
This archive footage shows how Malta mourned the death of Sir Winston Churchill....
A look inside Valletta’s most magnificent building
Valletta, Malta Governor's Palace
Valletta’s most magnificent building dominates the heart of our capital ci...
Three Maltese acting legends perform together
Gwardamanġa charles thake maltese television
This hilarious footage from the PBS archives shows three of Malta’s best-k...
The real story behind the Malta riots in 1958
Birgu General Workers Union
The political arguments over the future of Malta degenerated into violence on Sa...
Remembering a Maltese radio and TV legend
Charles Arrigo television malta
Charles Arrigo was one of Malta’s best-known broadcasters. His distinctive...
Exploring a First World War-era shipwreck off Malta
Malta
This exclusive underwater footage shows divers heading under the waves to explor...