Sunday, May 22

Banovci, wonderful nativity scene in Slovenia

Beeswax santons, little Jesus in puff pastry and sheep made of wool … the inhabitants of a Slovenian village attract hundreds of visitors a day by displaying nativity scenes with a very personal touch on their landings.

Whether they are housed in the henhouse, on a simple table or at the foot of the tree, these creations all come out of the imagination of some 200 inhabitants of Banovci in December.

Offered in the northeast of this Catholic country in Central Europe, not far from the Hungarian border, the show appeals to onlookers, who sometimes come from far away to go from house to house with an air of wonder.

It all started with Janez Skuhala. This former altar boy among the Salesians no longer knew what to do with his cribs, collected over the years and which invaded the home for Advent.

22 years ago, he began to put them on the sidewalk for the benefit of the neighbors and “a year later, we were three families to do the same”, tells the fifty-something to AFP under a large black cap.

Now, most of the community is playing along and meticulously crafting odds and ends with natural materials.

A retired tourist who made the detour is enthusiastic: “It’s great to attend such a communion”, she says.

“We want to open our portals, for visitors to enter our courtyards and start the conversation,” explains one of the organizers, Bojan Leser, in the Christmas spirit.

The coronavirus pandemic has reduced ambitions and residents no longer have the right to offer food, but more is needed to discourage them.

“When everything stops, it is precisely necessary to ensure the spectacle and as long as I will be there, we will continue”, assures Janez Skuhala, happy that about thirty houses maintain the tradition, in spite of the restrictions.

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