What is Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem all about?
A large living crib in Gozo spanning 20,000sqm of fields and buildings promises to bring the timeless Christmas story to life as never before. The atmosphere will simply be unique… the stretch of land known locally as Ta’ Passi, will slowly been changed into a large living crib, where horses turn mills, villagers go about their jobs, shepherds inhabit caves, animals roam in enclosed spaces and a poor unknown couple tend their newly-born in a grotto.
The nativity village, known as Bethlehem f’ Ghajnsielem, is situated in the village of Ghajnsielem, just five minutes by walk from Mgarr Harbour. The ‘animated crib’ will be open throughout the month of December and offers a naturalistic reproduction of the environs of Bethlehem.
This will be the fifth edition of Bethlehem f’ Ghajnsielem. In fact, until October 2008 Ta' Passi was an abandoned piece of land. The villagers of Ghajnsielem decided to make an experiment and convert the area into a mini-Bethlehem. It turned out to be such a huge success that in the space of just a few weeks, the nativity village managed to attract over 60,000.
The Ghajnsielem Local Council with the support and assistance of the Ministry for Gozo and together with the local NGOs and Ghajnsielem Parish will organize another edition of 'Bethlehem f'Ghajnsielem'. An action committee has been formed in order to oversee the construction and animation of the nativity village and managed by Mr Franco Ciangura who is assisted by several volunteers.
This year, Bethlehem f’ Ghajnsielem promises several attractions including the carpenter and blacksmith houses, the city, the bakery, a market selling natural fruits, fresh fish and vegetables, a tavern, a local crafts area and a stable hosting the animals. The main attraction will be the grotto with Mary, Joseph, & baby Jesus. Fresh water will be flowing around these structures through a small river. Each stall will include a family, played by actors, to remind us that the story of Christmas revolves around a family.
On entrance, a map will be given to all visitors to enhance the overall experience. The tavern will offer local food. A picnic area will offer the unique surroundings for a family outing on Sundays while oil Lamps will be distributed for those who want to visit Bethlehem f’ Ghajnsielem by night.
Bethlehem f’ Ghajnsielem at Ta Passi fields is an event not worth missing!
Bethlehem f’ Ghajnsielem opens on the 14 of December and will remain open until January 5. The nativity village will be animated on the weekends, Christmas and New Year day. The dates are 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th December 2013 and 1st, 4th and 5th January 2014.
Visitors can choose either to leave their car at Cirkewwa Terminal and walk up to the crib from Mgarr Harbour or park their car in the Ghajnsielem parish square and walk down to the entrance. Entrance is free.