Natty knitted nativity on the move in Marlborough

This Is Wiltshire: Dorte Bauer, of Wardrobe Boutique, Rev Andrew Studdert-Kennedy and Wardrobe Boutique owner Jane Tully with the Three Wise Men Dorte Bauer, of Wardrobe Boutique, Rev Andrew Studdert-Kennedy and Wardrobe Boutique owner Jane Tully with the Three Wise Men

Marlborough’s festive celebrations will have a Mexican twist again this year with the return of Las Posadas, a 25-day procession of knitted nativity figures along the High Street.

Las Posadas symbolises Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus and is enacted in various forms as part of a nine-day festival in Mexico.

Traditionally, in Mexico, two local people play the roles of Mary and Joseph and stay in a different house every day during the lead-up to Christmas.

But three years ago members of St Mary’s came up with their own version of Las Posadas by displaying the knitted figures in a different shop every day.

This year the procession will have two nativity sets making their way down either side of the High Street.

The first features Mary, Joseph and the donkey, which started at Kimvine on December 1, and are now working their way up the north side of the High Street. The Three Kings are travelling up the south side and began at the Food Gallery. Both sets will end up in St Mary’s church, ready to be blessed at the Crib Service at 3pm on Christmas Eve.

The Rev Andrew Studdert-Kennedy said: “On the whole the response is one of delight. The shops have responded really well and have wanted to be involved.

“Seeing these ragged woollen figures in Boots, or a jewellery store or ASK, is quite a juxtaposition and it’s the incongruity which is so poignant.”

There will also be a nativity sets visiting schools and residential and nursing homes.

Mr Studdert-Kennedy said: “There is a set that goes round residential homes and goes room-to-room so that each resident can have a set for a night, which is nice.”

There is a sign-up sheet in the church for any local groups interested in having a nativity set.

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