K of C Museum brings European Traditions to New Haven

NEW HAVEN—Across Europe, the annual celebration of Christmas has formed customs that have become part of the cultural fabric of its nations and regions. Europe is the focus of the Knights of Columbus Museum’s 15th annual Christmas exhibition, featuring season-inspired art and traditions from across the continent.

European artists, from the great masters to local craftspeople, have depicted the Nativity for centuries, often integrating and showcasing regional clothing, architecture and raw materials. From Nov. 16, 2019, to Feb. 2, 2020, the museum will exhibit more than 80 Nativity scenes or crèches, icons and religious artworks representing 30 countries across Europe, including the museum’s 120-square-foot Neapolitan (Italian) crèche.

The show also explores the traditions and festivities that have developed across the continent to celebrate the Christmas season. A central feature will be a replica European Christmas market. Beginning in November each year, many European cities host outdoor marketplaces, with dozens of vendors selling Christmas tree ornaments, candles, crèches and handcrafted gifts along with seasonal foods and beverages. The markets not only supply popular needs and tastes of the seasons but also offer a festive, fair-like atmosphere.

The museum will host its annual Christmastime Family Day celebration Sunday, December 29, 2019, from 12 to 3 pm. The event is free and open to the public, offering children’s activities, live Christmas music and refreshments.

Throughout the duration of the Christmas exhibit, special attention will be given to the customs and traditions of four European regions: November 16 and 17 – Western Europe, including Belgium, France and Germany; December 14 and 15 – Northern Europe, including the Baltic states, Ireland and Scandinavia; January 11 and 12 – Southern Europe, including the Balkans, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain; January 25 and 26 – Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.

The museum, located at 1 State Street in New Haven, is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas) with free admission and parking.

(For more information call: 203.865.0400 or visit: