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Vatican

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Pope Francis

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Vatican

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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Vatican

New secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

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Since when has the Nativity scene been put up for Christmas?

2012-12-21

Along the catacombs of early Christians, there are images of Nativity scenes. But St. Francis of Assisi is considered the first promoter of this tradition.

ROBERTO FABRIZI 
Associazione Italiana Amici del Presepio
"St. Francis asked Pope Honorius III for permission to make an image depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. Although, we can't consider this a Nativity scene because it only showed the baby, the bull and the donkey.”

Because of the large number of people who did not know how to read or write at the time, St. Francis found a solution to explain the meaning of Christmas. However, it was a living depiction, and not figurines. There had to be a 67 year wait for them to develop.

ROBERTO FABRIZI 
Associazione Italiana Amici del Presepio
"The very first we can historically call a Nativity scene with figurines that stand out from the landscape is the Nativity set build by Arnolfo di Cambio, from the year 1290.”

The Council of Trent pushed to install the Nativity scenes in Churches during Christmas. Slowly, families also started doing it at home, and the figurines began adapting to each country.

Today, it is considered an propelled art, protected by cultural associations. There are even classes designed to learn how to make them. They can be very original, or build in a more traditional style. But the important part is taking care of the details, such as the moss, rocks and light to have the figurines come to life.


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