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Nativity scene

The Christmas crib is meant to represent the scene of the Nativity because tradition has it that Jesus was born in a stable.

The oldest Nativity scene known dates back to the second century and it can be seen in a fresco found in the catacombs of Saint Priscilla in Rome; it portrays the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men and Saint Joseph, and a star with eight points above the scene.

In 1223 Saint Francis of Assisi decided to celebrate Christmas Mass in a small village where he had his monastery; he took a manger and filled it with hay, tied a real ass and ox near it, and with a crowd of people from all over the neighbouring countryside he celebrated the Mass in front of the crib.

With time, the figures were replaced first by statues in actual size; then by smaller ones; other figures were introduced as well: shepherds, angels, the Magi. This tradition was soon everywhere in Europe.

With the production of cradles in terracotta and other cheap materials, the Nativity scene became a popular tradition gradually extending to all social classes.

Would you like to build your own crib? Then go HERE!


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    All Texts and Illustrations © Dulce Rodrigues, 2017. All rights reserved