Saturday, December 13, 2008

only 12 more sleeps

Advent Calendar - December 13

Christmas Fact:

The Nativity scene also rooted itself firmly in French soil, especially in the southern region of Provence. The first manger scenes included only those figures most related to the story of the Nativity: Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, the shepherds, etc. In the eighteenth century, however, people began to display a multitude of characters in their home Nativity scenes. . . .

In 1803 small clay statuettes from Provence, called santons (or "little saints") appeared at the Christmas fair in Marseille. These santons became an essential element of the French Nativity scene. In addition to characters mentioned in the biblical accounts of the Nativity, the Provencal santons represented a wide variety of ordinary French townspeople, such as the baker, the mayor, the fishmonger, the village idiot and others. . . Like their Italian counterparts, French Nativity scenes depicted the birth of Christ taking place in a local setting, such as a village in Provence.
Encyclopedia of Christmas p. 409

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