Krakow Christmas Crib Contest is one of the most iconic customs of the city. Krakow Christmas Crib is a unique symbol that represents the Nativity of Jesus in the scenery of historical buildings of Krakow.
The tradition of making these colourful and sleek, mixed with the characteristic features of Krakow architecture Christmas cribs was conceived in the late 19th century. During that time in the villages neighbouring with Krakow, masons and woodworkers seeking extra income during Christmas, begun to make Christmas cribs as seasonal decoration. They gained on popularity very quickly and were used by door-to-door carollers as puppet theatres.
In 1937 the first contest of Krakow Christmas cribs was organised at the foot of Adam Mickiewicz Monument on the Main Market Square. By that time, Krakow Christmas cribs were becoming extraordinary pieces of art. After World War II the contest was resumed and has been happening continuously ever since.
On the first Thursday of December contestants converge towards Adam Mickiewicz Monument to present their creations to the public. Today, people of all professions and backgrounds compete for the best Christmas crib. After a few hours, a celebratory march sets out for Krzysztofory Palace, were the jury deliberates to select winners in three categories (seniors, teenagers and children) and four groups (large, medium, small and miniature cribs). After the contest, the awarded cribs are displayed as a special exhibition in Krzysztofory Palace that lasts for a full Christmas season.
Krakow Christmas Crib Contest 2017
Every year, Krakow Christmas Crib Contest takes place on the first Thursday of December – this year December 7th. From early in the morning contestants will present their Christmas cribs at the foot of Adam Mickiewicz Monument. Later, they will be taken to Krzysztofory Palace, where after three days, the exhibition will open.