before, but this year - joy! - Pushkin and I have been asked to join in, which we took to be a real privilege as it means we are now accepted by the townsfolk as one of their own.
So instead of watching from the crowd, this time we borrowed costumes from the theatre, rehearsed yesterday, and had a whale of a time being part of this ritual occasion - both irreverent and solemn.
As I said in my previous blogs, what is so wonderful about this 'show' is that it is totally non commercial, rehearsed but still spontaneous, and there is not a Santa in sight because people here love their traditions.
And it is humbling to see how everyone - both the performers and the huge crowd in the square know all the words and melodies of their many many carols, and how generations join together to celebrate their Christmas as a community.
I couldn't take many photos today for obvious reasons, and I regret not having had the opportunity to show you some of the more 'Czech' solutions to missing props or cast, such as a dog with a sheep's skin fastened on its back to represent the shepherds' sheep, or a horse with silly felt humps to stand in for one of the King's camels - but here are just a few pictures to bring you closer to the fun. The Nativity, just as the St Nicholas Eve party, are true highlights for me here - I enjoy these even more than the traditional Summer Festival of the Five petalled rose, which is great but a little more organized. And, as usual, my very favourite characters here are the angels of all different shapes and sizes. Hallelujah :-)
Wishing all our blog readers a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!