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On the first Thursday of December people gather around the Adam Mickiewicz monument for the annual szopki krakowskie contest. Szopki are beautiful and unusual Nativity scenes with a Polish twist to them. They’re made of wood, plywood, cardboard and decorated with colorful tinfoil.

Kraków Nativity Scenes Online
Learn Polish online
Kraków Nativity Scenes Online
Polish Christmas ebook

Making szopki is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century and has been passed on from generation to generation.

This year, for the first time since 1945, there were no szopki on Kraków’s Main Market Square on the first Thursday of December. There were no people who had come to see them. But the tradition lives on, the szopki-makers made their szopki despite all the odds and the 78th szopki contest was held. In normal circumstances, the winning szopki are presented to the public in the Museum of Kraków, but this year’s exhibition is held virtually. Which, obviously, has its advantages 🙂

If you would like to have a look at this year’s works, the Museum of Kraków’s website and scroll down to see the winners of different categories, including szopki made by seniors, juniors, children, special szopki and family-made szopki. They come in different sizes. Big, medium, small, and even miniature.

You can also watch a video about szopki-making. The video is in Polish, but it is definitely worth watching even if you don’t speak Polish at all. You’ll see some of the winning szopki and get a glimpse of the process of szopki-making.