Christ is Born
November 11,2011 - Mid-February 2012
This exhibit came about after the Friends of the chrèche* invited the Ontario branch of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada to offer a related field trip to participants of their 2011 international convention taking place, for the first time, in Canada.
Because a highlight of the convention would be an exhibit of some 200 crèches, the Museum decided to set its own crèches in the context of Ukrainian traditions. Ours is an exploration of the celebration of Christ's Nativity amongst Ukrainians.
Our crèches are displayed against the depiction of a 19th century Hutzul family preparing to share the Christmas Eve meal. Traditions that harken back to pagan times take a new meaning: a child awaits the first star, a reminder of the star of Bethlehem, to begin the meatless, dairy-free meal; grandfather and grandson bring in a sheaf of wheat, a symbol of the clan and a signal for all to gather at the table; an extra place setting invites the departed to join the festive dinner and complete the family; hay placed under the white tablecloth reminds all present of Christ's humble birthplace.
Four very different crèches are featured in this exhibit--three from Ukraine and one a Canadian adaptation of an animated folk crèche with a two level stage and puppets. Also on display are original icons and photographs of nativity scenes that adorn the walls of four area churches. Finally we feature depiction of Christmas Eve by noted artists, a postage stamp featuring an icon of the nativity, and a coin stamped with joyful carolers.
We hope that the exhibit awakens the spirit of Christmas in all who visit.
* An association of people from around the world who study, collect or simply treasure the Christmas tradition of crèches.