The tradition of creating nativity scenes in Kraków is on Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists

In November 2018, during the annual meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius UNESCO Committee decided to inscribe the tradition of creating nativity scenes in Kraków on Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. That’s the first intangible cultural heritage element from Poland on List, but it is also a great honor for Kraków nativity scene makers.

The first edition of the contest was organized in 1937 by the Municipal Art Propaganda Office of the Kraków Municipal Board, and was initiated by Jerzy Dobrzycki, the then director of the Office. The outbreak of WWII disrupted the organization of the contest which was resumed in 1945. Ever since 1946, i.e. since the appointment of the aforementioned Jerzy Dobrzycki as director of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków, the Museum has been in charge of the organization of the contest. The chief goal of this competition has always been the preservation of the tradition of nativity scene making. Throughout its history, the contest has been entered by hundreds of craftsmen; some of them participated several times, others more than a dozen times, and the record-holders over fifty times. The tradition of creating nativity scenes for the contest has developed in many families; it has been handed down from generation to generation, and is still very much alive today.