No one does Christmas time quite like the Maltese, we may not have snow, but our prasepji (cribs depicting nativity scenes) remain popular attractions both for kids and adults. Beyond that, paying the creations of local artisans a visit is a wonderful way to keep Malta’s rituals alive. It also helps that visitors from abroad seem to like our nativity scenes just as much as we do. Malta may be the island of future industries, from IT to gaming, but we remain traditionalists at heart.
We’ve gotten in contact with some local artisans who have created cribs depicting nativity scenes (or other religious scenes) which you can pay a visit to with your family. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and we invite any artisan in Malta who’s done a nativity scene to comment with a photo and information on where people can visit their creations.
A three-month project that incorporated jablo (expanded polystyrene), real grass, wood, expansion foam, acrylic and other materials. You can visit Andreas’ nativity scene at the Każin tal-Banda Duke of Connaught’s Own – Triq il-Wied, Birkirkara, where a national competition for the best nativity scene will be held!
Opening hours are from Monday to Friday, from 5pm till 8pm. On Sundays, they’re also open from 10am till 12pm.
This lady from Qrendi is a creative powerhouse. A fan of the arts from a young age, Catherine marries religious devotion with detailed research to create cribs that depict not only the Nativity Scene but also other iconic religious moments. As of 2017, her work has started being exhibited at the Lourdes Philarmonic Society at Qrendi.
Her exhibition will remain open till the 6th of January.
Massimo Borg has been involved in the building of cribs and nativity scenes since he was a little kid (at the time, he used to experiment and imagine during his time at the local doctrine). This is the first time he’s made his own large-scale crib. It took Massimo 11 years to collect all the right figurines (pasturi) and perfect his skill. The technique, he tells us, involves using jablo as the foundation, damp tissues wrapped around, and then (once dried out), application of gibs, colouring, phasing out, and finally, accessories and lights.
Find his Nativity Scene at the Każin tal-Banda Duke of Connaught’s Own, Triq Il-Wied, Birkirkara
An aficionado for cribs and nativity scenes since a young age, 30 year old Rodney was always inspired by his uncle. He’s been creating cribs depicting nativity scenes for the last 5 years, and he’s not slowing down. Just this year Rodney attended two courses to up his game further, and he intends on building a large-scale nativity scene for next year as well.
You can see his cribs at the Kazin Marija Bambina Banda Vittorja in Naxxar
Reuben forms part of a group of artisans in Ħaż-Żabbar who have been exhibiting nativity scenes for the last four years. They also offer courses for interested artisans during October – and welcome participation by trainees in their annual shows. The style of their cribs vary, drawing inspiration from different styles and architecture – including Jewish, Maltese, and Napolitan.
The exhibition will be open everyday until the 6th of January from 6pm to 9pm. On Sundays, it’s also open between 9.30am and 12pm.
You can find it at the Maħżen tal-Armar tal-Parroċċa Żabbarija (Warehouse of the Parish Church of Ħaż-Żabbar)