25 November 2023 – 4 February 2024
Curator of the exhibition: Dorota Jasnowska
The exhibition demonstrates the performances related to carol singing as practised during the Christmas period in various regions of Poland and in other European countries. The directors, actors and scenographers of this particular type of folk theatre were usually members of the local community.
The exhibition mostly presents ensembles of carol singers from Lower Silesia, and also from such regions as Małopolska, Silesia and Opolskie. The singers perform using animal masks symbolising strength, health and fertility (e.g. goat, bear, and the so-called ‘turoń’ – a hairy animalesque mascaron with horns), carrying an illuminated star and a nativity scene; there are also groups performing the so-called Herody, i.e. drama based on the biblical story of King Herod.
The exhibition showcases photographs, sound recordings, films and interviews with performers – all contained in the material documenting research on this form of ritual, which were also conducted by keepers of the Ethnographic Museum in the late 1960s and the early 1970s.
The historic exhibits are the property of: Muzeum Śląskie in Katowice, Muzeum Śląska Opolskiego, Muzeum Wsi Opolskiej, Muzeum Etnograficzne in Wrocław, Państwowe Muzeum Etnograficzne in Warszawa, Muzeum Etnograficzne im. Seweryna Udzieli in Kraków.