Italian Christmas celebrations | Italia Mia |
According to Wikipedia, the first nativity scene was created in the 13th century by Saint Francis of Assisi who wanted to call attention to the birth of Jesus by showing a characteristic scene from the barn in Bethlehem. St. Francis’ nativity scene was alive with humans and animals in the Biblical roles, but eventually, statues replaced living participants, and static scenes grew to elaborate affairs with wood or clay figurines placed in landscape settings. The figurines became particularly popular in Naples, where families started competing with each other to make the most lifelike cast that gradually expanded from Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus to all kinds of Biblical and mundane characters including politicians, actors and celebrities. It is not unusual to see Silvio Berlusconi or Barack Obama among the Three Wise Men on display by Italian homes and churches from December 8, which is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.