WARNING – Advent purists, Christmas Carol ahead!
On the evening of 3 DEC 2016, 1254 town folk, dressed as shepherds, wise men and angels gathered on a local green to assemble the largest living Nativity. By doing so the town stole the title from the previous record set by folks in Utah in 2014. The Utah living Nativity boasted 1039. Calne’s mayor, Tom Rounds, accepted the certification from the Guinness judge, Jack Brockbank, on behalf of the whole town.
People of faith; no faith and other faiths turned up tonight to celebrate the original Christmas story from the Bible. They had great fun; broke the world record and, we hope, brought the Bible to life.
We hope people were reminded where the story came from and what it means to millions of Christians across the globe.
– Paul Williams, CEO of the Bible Society
However, the townsfolk of Calne appear to have simply dressed up as their favorite Nativity character and gathered in a big clump on the green in front of a manger scene! The smaller group in Utah at least were part of a delightful Christmas music video of Angels From the Realms of Glory/Angels We Have Heard on High with The Piano Guys, American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, more than a dozen YouTube personalities, backup vocals by the 360 voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir and accompaniment by the Orchestra & Bells on Temple Square.
By the way, a little Christmas trivia, St Francis of Assisi is credited with the idea of the combining of the two birth stories in the Gospels of Matthew & Luke into the Nativity scene with which we are all very familiar, from the smallest hand-carved set to these huge live re-enactments. He did it because he wanted the common folk who didn’t read or speak Latin, to have an opportunity to learn the story of Christmas outside of the Mass.