By John Smith •
Published: 29 Nov 2023 • 19:57
Advance view of the Palma Council Betlem
Credit: Palma Council
THERE are no less than 17 public Nativity Villages (known in Mallorca as Betlems or Beléns after Bethlehem) which can be visited in Palma from now until in most cases January 6 next year.
So popular are these Betlems that in 2001, the not for profit association Mallorca Betlemistes was founded and teaches newcomers to the hobby how to create their own nativity scene.
The Palma Council has created a special Betlem route and you can find a PDF by visiting https://palma.es/documents/39018/0/Itinerari+dels+Betlems+2023-2024.pdf which this lists all 17 venues that can be visited by the public as well as their opening times and dates.
Thanks in part to the involvement of the Mallorca Betlemistes many councils as well as businesses across the island also join in the Christmas tradition of creating their own special model nativity scenes.
Naturally churches across Mallorca also create their own, often life sized Betlems which can be enjoyed by the public and 2023 is the 800th Anniversary of the first living nativity created by Saint Francis of Assisi in the Italian village of Greccio.
These living nativities using real people are quite popular in parts of mainland Spain and are re-enacted on occasion in Mallorca but rely on whole communities taking part.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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