Wednesday, 18 December 2013


A nativity scene, "Nacimiento ", " Misterio" or "Belen" in Spanish, in Norway we say that a loved child has many names, is the summum christmas decoration and the most traditional, is the exhibition of art objects representing the scene of the birth of Jesus.

The first created one is credited to Saint Francis of Asiss, the founder of the Franciscan Order, he was in the countryside of the Hermitage of Greccio, Italy in 1223, when he got the inspiration to reproduce the mistery of Jesus birth and built a barn of straw. Invited a small group of local people, brought  a manger, a donkey and an ox, this was what we call "a living nativity scene", many villages in Spain continue with the tradition, and live people participate together with the animals, you can have a look at the web site of the " Ayuntamiento"  in the place  you visit or live, there is always a Nacimiento, or a Belen.

The art form can be traced back to eighteenth-century Naples, Italy.The nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother Mary and the father Joseph  normally displayd in a barn, with the donkey and the ox (to give warmth) just beside, outside the shepherds and the sheep, and angels , the camels ridden by the 3 Magi, offering their gifts.

There can also be non religious figures as farm animals, the village, representing Bethlehem; with their people living, farmers, blacksmiths, soldiers, and people doing their handicraft work, baking bread, selling their goods, Mary washing clothes in the Jordan river, the river has a mill, a bridge, there are trees, plants, mountains,whole landscapes, families compete with each other to produce the most elaborated sceens.

 That's why every year the main squares in every town and village has stands selling onely figures and items for the Nativity Scene, the real good ones are made by local artists, they work the whole year producing, and then sell in December. Now there are figures at popular prices, and we let the girls arrange the Belen, what most young families do today, but when my husband was a boy, this was done by the grown ups, and almost wore a "Do not touch" sign, I prefere to think it was because the figures might where very expensive at that time.

The metropolitan Museum of Art in New York naually displays a Neapolitan Baroque Nativity Scene.On this link you can see it. you can also see the figures one by one:

                                        Nativity Scene from the University of Granada.
The Nativity Scene from Granada University , is exposed in front of El Corte Ingles, Carrera de la Virgen in Granada.

It's got so late, coming back tomorrow with the Mantecados recipe..
Night, Night.!!!!!!

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