One of Kraków’s most unique and singular Christmas traditions is the popular creation of ‘Christmas cribs’ or ‘szopki.’ While many churches across the country display elaborate nativity scenes during the holiday season, ‘szopki krakowskie’ (as the local variety are called) are so idiosyncratic to Kraków, that they were just added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Something of a strange cross between a nativity scene, gingerbread house and garish dollhouse, szopki krakowskie are the bizarre result of a slowly evolving folk tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Orthodox Christians annually celebrate Christmas Day on or near January 7 to remember Jesus Christ’s birth, described in the Christian Bible. This date works to the Julian calendar that pre-dates the Gregorian calendar, which is commonly observed.
Koliada or koleda is an ancientpre-Christian Slavic and Baltic winter festival. It was later incorporated into Christmas.
Vertepny theater is a Christmas performance by means of a puppet show, sometimes also with the participation of human actors. It was distributed mainly on the territory of Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, in some regions of Russia. A nativity scene in this case is also called Vertep is a special box in which a puppet show is shown.
Twelfth Night (also known as Epiphany Eve) is a festival in some branches of Christianity that takes place on the last night of the Twelve Days of Christmas, marking the coming of the Epiphany. Different traditions mark the date of Twelfth Night as either 5 January or 6 January, depending on whether the counting begins on Christmas or 26 December.
As a guest at a medieval manse, I recall my bravado when late at night I was invited to enter the unsealed wooden door of a forbidding garret. My hosts stood well back as cautiously I opened the door to peer into a blackness. Other than the darkness I couldn’t see anything but was aware of what I describe tersely as a hideous malevolent entity inviting me to enter. Slamming the garret door shut I fearfully retreated.
January 6th is a very important holiday in Spain as the entire country celebrates the Epiphany, or Dia de Los Reyes Magos. On the eve of Epiphany (January 5th), every city, town, and village prepares for the arrival of the Three Kings of the Orient by organizing various processions and fiestas, including the famous La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, an exciting parade and a cultural experience in its own right.
Every age should have its giants; men who will not only reach the epoch of their calling but become a master of other men’s crafts. Herbert von Karajan (April 5 1908 – July 16 1989) was such a man. Many regard him as the greatest conductor ever to mount the podium, the greatest translator of Europe’s classical music.
Partying at home on New Year’s? Here’s a list of livestream events that will bring pop, rock and classical music concerts straight to the living room.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF as throughout much of the European Union (EU) Christmas and New Year, under the guise of Covid-19 lockdowns Christmas and New Year 2020 are banned. People may not gather to celebrate Christmas mass, attend Church services in numbers, celebrate the New Year. Sections of stores given over to selling children’s toys, tinsel and garlands, tableware for Christmas festivities. Even Christmas-related food stuffs are declared illegal. Nothing makes sense unless one understands the nature of Bolshevism, which is now called Globalism and ‘diversity’.