Christmas nativity scene (Belen)
One of the main and the favorite holidays of the year, Christmas, is approaching! The whole family is sitting together at the dinner table to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Magical atmosphere and excitement about the party can leave nobody indifferent. Everybody takes part in the preparation for the celebration. In Spain, the nativity scene (or so-called “belen”) is an indispensable part of Christmas.
Belen is a presentation of birth of Jesus Christ in miniature, which can be made of different materials– wood, wax, metal, etc.
Traditional “belen” (inspired by the first one, created in 1223 by San francisco de asis in the cave near Italy) show such characters as Virgin Mary, Baby Jesus in his manger and San Jose. Modern “belen” can include other characters as well (for example, shepherd or Three Magi, who praise their Savior and bring him gifts. However, the central and constant scene of “belen” remains the birth of Jesus Christ.
Spain is a very religious country that produces a lot of “belen” (400 million figures were created during the twentieth century in Catalonia, Murcia and Madrid). Even children participate in their creation, as there are different nativity scenes – from the miniature ones standing under the tree to the huge scenes occupying most of the premises. They can be also alive, mobile or represent simple sculptures. There are numerous variations – everything depends on the author’s imagination and preferences.
The main thing is that Belen must show the birth of baby Jesus and the importance of this event. The creation of this scene always brings family together and creates the magical atmosphere of Christmas.