Slovenski etnografski muzej

Polish Natvity Scenes
Exhibition building
21. November 2023
28. January 2024

Polish Natvity Scenes

Folk nativity scene is a complicated phenomenon, combining religious and secular, sublime and ludic, local and universal, contemporary and timeless motives. The exhibition presents all the types of Polish folk Christmas cribs underlining their local context and history.

A Christmas crib is one of the most characteristic items of Polish folklore. It was popular especially in the 19th and early 20th century, called the golden period of folk culture, but despite of many transformations it is still alive. Although nativity scenes are known in every Christian country all over the world, there are some special features that distinguish those coming from specific countries or even regions. This is the case with Polish Christmas cribs.

Among others, the Kraków nativity scenes are on view. Krakow nativity scenes are a unique phenomenon. Nowhere else in Poland are cribs so characteristic. That is why the tradition of making nativity scenes in Krakow is included on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible cultural Heritage of Humanity. The history of this type of nativity scene dates back to the second half of the 19th century. At that time Christmas cribs made in Kakow began to be clearly distinguished from others.

Exhibition Polish Nativity Scenes was prepared by the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, Poland in cooperation with the Slovene Ethnographic Museum.
Curator of the exhibition and author of the texts: dr. Małgorzata Kunecka
Exhibition coordinator: dr. Nena Židov, SEM