Nativity scene

From Academic Kids

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A traditional nativity scene from Naples, Italy

A nativity scene (usually capitalized if referring to the birth of Jesus), also called a crib or crche (meaning "crib" or "manger" in French) generally refers to any depiction of the birth or birthplace of Jesus. In Spain and hispanic countries, this is called Belen(meaning Bethlehem in Spanish). In Argentina it is called pesebre.Nativity scenes, in two dimensions (drawings, paintings, icons, etc.) or three (sculpture or other three-dimensional crafts), usually show Jesus in a manger, Joseph, and Mary in a barn (or a cave) intended for the housing of animals. A mule and an ox surround them, after the Apocryphal Gospels. The scene sometimes includes three wise men, shepherds, angels and the Star of Bethlehem.

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Detail from a German nativity scene, the Holy Family and the three wise men

They are placed around Christmas in Catholic (and some Protestant) homes, churches and parks. A life-sized one is on Piazza San Pietro in the Vatican City.

The origin of three-dimensional Nativity Scenes is attributed to St Francis of Assisi; drawings and paintings existed earlier. The tradition was brought into Spain from Naples during the reign of Charles III of Spain.

In Catalonia, a figure (caganer) is included representing a Catalan peasant in the act of defecation.

In Provence in the South of France nativity scenes are sometimes made up of hundreds of small painted clay figurines called santon. They represent all the traditional trades and professions of old Provence. Because of their cultural value the santons are often collected as art or craft objects, regardless of their possible use in a nativity scene.

The traditional manger scenes that assemble together the shepherds and wise men are not true to Scripture, since the Magi arrived much later (Luke 2:7-16). When the shepherds arrived, Jesus was in the manger (a feeding trough in a stable). When the wise men arrived, Jesus was moved into a house (Matthew 2:11).

Template:Commonsde:Weihnachtskrippe fr:Crche de Nol es:Beln(escena del nacimiento de Jesus) ja:キリストの降誕 nl:Kerststal sv:Julkrubba

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