Bethlehem in Għajnsielem – twins among seven participating babies in the role of Baby Jesus

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has inaugurated the largest of one of three live cribs in Gozo for this Christmas.

About 150 actors will participate in the eighth edition of Bethlehem in Għajnsielem which once more is portraying the birth of Jesus Christ in a particular mode. This is just one of many events organised throughout Gozo during the Christmas period with the island gaining fame for the various activities to be held over the coming three weeks.

The Christmas atmosphere is always experienced highly in Gozo with Għajnsielem being just five minutes away from the port of Mġarr and for the eighth successive year presenting an animated representation of Bethlehem.

A tin smith, shepherds, diverse carpentry techniques, a blacksmith and a baker are seen busy at work at their trades. The whole event is spread over 20,000 square metres at the zone known as Ta’ Passi in f’Għajnsielem.

Lelio Spiteri, a Member of the Organising Committee, expressed great optimism that once more the event will be a success. He said the various activities were on a ‘hands-on’ basis, such as a flour mill powered by water. A boat also travels on an artificial river. Traditional Christmas food and refreshments are also available.

The event, organised by the Għajnsielem Local Council and the Organising Committee of Bethlehem in Għajnsielem will also include various depictions of Roman soldiers stationed at Fort Chambray. The activities will reach their height on 8th January with the arrival of The Three Wise Men from Grecio in Italy where St Francis originated the crib tradition with the first crib.

The main attraction remains the cave in which the Baby Jesus is held by Mary with Joseph also present. This year the role of Baby Jesus will be shared by seven babies, including a set of twins. In all there will be 150 participants, many of them coming from the same Għajnsielem families.

The Prime Minister had words of praise for the collaborative efforts of a number of entities to prepare and participate in the event which last year attracted 40,000 families. He said the event also had economic benefit and attracted visitors from malta as well as tourists.