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History Of The Nativity Scene

Jun 4, 2008
Nativity Scene Sets.

Many people do not know the origins or meaning behind the nativity creche or scene. The nativity creche, or otherwise known as a manger, stable, or crib, is a depiction of the birth of Christ. Depending on your country of origin, the crèche could have any of those names, but they all have one meaning. The nativity scene can be either two or three dimensional. The nativity scene usually consists of a creche, the Holy Family, an ox, a sheep, and donkey. The three Wise Men, shepherds, and angels can also be added. It depends on which time frame you are trying to depict with your scene.

Origins of the Nativity.

St. Francis of Assisi is said to have introduced the world to the three-dimensional nativity scene after a trip to Egypt and Acre in 1220. He was said to have used live humans and animals in his set. The idea of the nativity scene soon spread to Germany in the 1600's. Today, the custom has been spread throughout Christian homes and churches. Catholics and Protestants put these scenes up in their churches, homes, and parks. In many homes and churches, the baby Jesus is often left out of the crib until Christmas day, representing the fact that He has not been born yet. It is common practice in the United States for people to put all characters in the scene all at once.

Nativity Traditions.

In various countries there are many different traditions when making and putting up a nativity set. In Spain, there are monumental indoor nativities that are put up. They use thousands of kilos of sand, stones and cork, as well as lights, music, water streams, and automatons to create these work of art. In Mexico and other central American countries, they put their scenes up on December 16. In Colombia, it is December 8, known as Candle's Day, in English. Baby Jesus is not added to the manger until December 24. The shepherds are placed in the scene a few days after Christmas. The three Wise Men do not show up until January 6, known as Three King's Day. They leave their nativity scenes up until February 2, which is the end of the Epiphany, and also the Presentation of the Lord.

Unique Tradition.

In Catalonia, which is mostly in Spain and occupies a small part of France, they have quite an unusual tradition. They put up a statue known as a caganer. The caganer can be found hidden far away from the manger and other characters, and for good reason. The word caganer literally translates to pooper, in English. This is what the little statue is doing. No wonder it is placed in an obscure position. The meaning of this tradition has been lost, but some think this tradition has gone on for many reasons. Firstly, tradition. But also for humor, a symbol of fertilizing the earth, equality of man, and also naturalism. Whatever the meaning, this is a part of Catalonian tradition.

No matter what time you put up your nativity crèche, it will always be a reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.
About the Author
Katie is employed as a writer for Christmas Decorations and Gifts. Select to view Christmas Decorations Ideas. Christmas Decorations & Gifts also has a great selection of Christmas Nativity Scene.
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