Nativity of Jesus
Nativity of Jesus
Karel Němec, Nativity of Jesus, color woodcut (xylography), paper, from the collections of the Vysočina Regional Gallery in Jihlava

Today is Christmas Day, the most important day for Christians during Christmas period. We commemorate this holiday with a woodcut "Nativity of Jesus" by the Czech painter and graphic artist Karel Němec (October 25, 1879 - June 17, 1960), whose life and work were closely connected with Nové Město na Moravě, where he was born and died.

Christmas Day, or the Nativity of Jesus, together with Easter Sunday (Resurrection of the Lord) is one of the largest and most important holidays of the liturgical year. According to Christian traditions, we should commemorate the birthday of Jesus Christ. Surely you know the story in which the pregnant girl Mary and her fiancé, the carpenter Joseph of Nazareth, went from northern Israel to Bethlehem, near Jerusalem, to take part in the compulsory census. And that was where their son of God was born. This event is written about in two Gospels - Matthew and Luke. The first tells of the three wise men and their gifts, the second of the child laid in the manger and of the shepherds who came to worship him. The liturgical celebration of Christ's birth began in the 3rd century AD and this celebration is allegedly first documented in Rome in 336. There is no doubt about the historical nature of the birth, in addition to evangelists, ancient Jewish and pagan historians write about it. The celebration of the Nativity is traditionally associated with the preparation of nativity scenes. It is a tradition that is intended for meditation and comes from St. Francis of Assisi, who first built "Bethlehem" in 1223. Traditional are also Christmas games, prepared mostly as a strip of scenes from the story of Jesus' birth and carols.

According to folk tradition, Christmas Day is a day when one should not work. Earlier, the rooms and the porch did not get wet on this day, they could not even make the beds and no laundry was allowed to hang in the house, as this could mean an accident in the house. Even in today's hectic times, most people will finally find time to relax and enjoy the festive atmosphere after demanding preparations for Christmas. This festive day is mostly carried in the spirit of family visits and feasts.

And finally, one more lore related to this important day: "If the Nativity of Jesus is on Saturday, there will be little fruit, but rye will thrive."

 

December 25, 2021

curator of collection of paintings and drawings
Mgr. Jana Bojanovská

phone number.: 567 217 133; 605 221 763
bojanovska@ogv.cz