The crèche – a representation of the nativity scene – is an art form I look forward to this time of year. When living in Italy, I carefully selected beautiful hand-carved pieces of shepherds or sheep to take back home as gifts, and always enjoyed viewing the life-size presepio featured in Italian piazzas. Much more civilized than a plastic blow-up of the Grinch, I say.
This weekend I visited a local festival which featured hundreds of crèches from around the world. Believers, non-believers and everyone in between, with a curiosity for travel and world culture, will appreciate the diversity found in crèches from places like France, Mexico, Italy, Peru, Columbia, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Alaska and Hawaii.
Faceless, abstract, figurative, stained glass, pewter, wood, cloth. Of particular interest, a cold-weather (!) nativity scene featuring arctic fox, seals and polar bears from Alaska (not shown).
A crèche created in layers into a colorful and painted gourd from Columbia.
Wooden tribe from Africa.
Authentic Mexican Nativity Scene.
A crèche made from a coconut shell, Hawaii.
Gourd nativity from South America.
Miniature dark-skinned Joseph, Mary and tiny Baby Jesus made of clay. From Peru.
White porcelain origami.
Stunning dark wooden crèche from Zimbabwe.
The variety of interpretations of the nativity scene across countries and cultures provided a beautiful display and a joyful experience.
(This blogger as a young girl visiting a traditional Nativity Scene at mass with her family.)
My memories of crèches growing up include the above display at our local church and an elegant and simple nativity scene filled with German carved wood figurines that my mother always placed under our Christmas tree at home. Do you display a crèche at the holiday season? What kind?
photos courtesy of my 9-year-old daughter