The lighting of the tree and the manger inaugurate Christmas in the Vatican
Christmas has begun at the Vatican with this ceremony that every year remembers an event that changed the history of humanity more than 2,000 years ago.
The music brought festive joy to the people waiting while it was getting dark in Rome. First with these folkloric dances...
And then with something quieter, the traditional Christmas carol 'Silent Night'...
After the music came the most awaited moment, the presentation of the spectacular Christmas scene.
This year the Nativity is very special. It is made of sand obtained from the beaches of the Italian town of Jesolo, near Venice. It has been delicately modeled in the past weeks using tons of sand, a total of 24 sand trucks.
And after the manger, there was the lighting of the tree.
It is a red fir tree that comes from the forest of Cansiglio, in the province of Pordenone, about 700 kilometers north of Rome. It measures 68 feet and weighs more than four tons.
The manger and the tree will remain illuminated in St. Peter's Square until January 13, the day when the Church ends Christmas with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.