VILLAGERS near Knutsford have started putting into practice their own interpretation of Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Cloth figures, around four inches high, from the nativity scene are currently touring homes in Goostrey in a custom that originates from Mexico called ‘the travelling crib’.

The characters from the Christmas story spend a night in each volunteer’s house before being passed on to another resident the next day.

The ‘journey’ started on Advent Sunday, November 30, and the figures will have visited 26 homes before returning to St Luke’s church on Christmas Eve at 4pm.

Organiser Karen Gay said: “It brings more of a sense of the first Christmas journey to the village.

“It’s a way to involve several families in the community, not just those who go to church.”

The scheme has proved so popular that a second crib is being passed from family to family to allow younger people the chance to get involved.

Karen, who helps run St Luke’s children’s group, is also encouraging people not to include baby Jesus in the nativity display so it will be more symbolic when he is displayed at the church on Christmas day.

She added: “Every child from Goostrey Primary School was told this is happening as well as those from the church.

“It can be a learning tool for the kids. It’s hopefully a way they can learn the real meaning of Christmas.”

The travelling crib is an adaptation of an old Mexican custom where people dressed as Mary and Joseph travel around during Advent, knocking at peoples’ doors to see who will give them hospitality.