Melburnians will be able to discover Bethlehem as it would have been 2000 years ago at the birth of Jesus, with the annual Walk Through Bethlehem event set to take place this week, Il Globo reports.
The annual living installation will take place from tomorrow until Saturday at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Epping, where it was moved to in 2015, with the support of the Director of School Community, Emma Canning.
“As the children see Bethlehem being built in their school, they’re able to have a deeper understanding of the Christmas story and what it’s all about,” she said.
There is a strong community spirit surrounding this event, and many people voluntarily participate in the construction of the “city” and the acting of various roles.
Many students and their families also take part in the event, coming together in the spirit of Christmas.
The first phase of planning began in February, while the installation is set up from the beginning of December.
The event features many unique props and details which transform the school into Bethlehem as it would have in Jesus’ time. Creatures including camels, horses, cows, donkeys and other farm animals also star in the event.
The replica of Bethlehem stars characters such as Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men, along with guards, commoners and artisans showing off their products.
All of the characters are played by local volunteers: in general, the key roles are given to those who have committed to the event for years, while those “secondary” roles are rotated depending on availability.
The only actor who changes each year is, obviously, the baby who plays Jesus.
“Opening night last year, my little girl played Jesus and that’s now a memory that I cherish,” Ms Canning said.
Director Virgilio Marcianò explained that, despite the thousands of people who make the journey through Bethlehem over the three nights, there is always a “peaceful” atmosphere.
A walk through Bethlehem (Il Globo)