Somewhere, on a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean, several local volunteers are in the final touches stage for the fifth edition of “Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem”, the event that has enchanted thousands of visitors over the past two years. The nativity village is situated close to the Ghajnsielem main square, on the island of Gozo, just 5 minutes on foot from Mgarr harbor. Appropriately called “Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem”, this life-size crib, constructed on 20,000 square metre of fields on a stretch of land known as Ta’Passi, comes to life during the month o December with about 150 actors taking visitors back in time to Judea of 2000 years ago. The atmosphere will simply be unique…horses turn mills, villagers go about their jobs, shepherds inhabit caves, animals roam in enclosed spaces and a poor unknown couple tend to their new born in a grotto…It promises to bring the timeless Christmas story to life as never before.
“Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem” offers a naturalistic reproduction of the environ of Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Attractions include the carpenter and the blacksmith’s dwellings, the bakery, an open-air market selling seasonal fruits, fish and a wide selection of vegetables, a local crafts area promoting traditional skills and folklore, a tavern, a farmhouse with panoramic roof and the Bethlehem Inn. Each dwelling is inhabited and animated by whole families, to remind everyone that Christmas is a celebration of the family. The tavern offers local food and wine while the picnic area offers a unique surrounding for a family outing on Sundays. Oil lamps will be distributed for those who want to visit the live crib by night. Fresh water will be flowing along these structures through a small stream with various water features. The main attraction is certainly the grotto, with baby Jesus in the caring hands of Mary assisted by Joseph with a donkey and a cow close by.
“Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem” will also include re-enactments of the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem of Joseph and Mary, as well as the Adoration of the Magi on the Epiphany when the three wise men will depart on horseback from a village in Malta to Cirkewwa terminal where they will board the ferry before making the triumphal entrance to the nativity village mid afternoon to arrive at what certainly is the main attraction of any crib, the Grotto with the newborn baby Jesus with Mary, under the watchful eye of Joseph.