The origin of the Nativity Scene

Posted On December 2, 2006

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The Christmas Nativity Scene is a retelling of the account in the bible of Jesus’ birth as found in the Gospel of Luke and Matthew.

When Mary and Joseph were unable to find room at an inn, they took shelter in a barn for the evening. After giving birth, Mary and Joseph were visited by Shepherds, and Wise Men from the East. Those figures, plus the livestock from the barn, are usually found in a Nativity Set.

The tradition of a displaying a nativity scene, or nativity crèche (crèche meaning manger), started in Germany in the 1600s. There is record of a live nativity scene that dates all the way back to the 13th Century in Italy.

St. Charles presents a live Nativity based on a Spanish tradition known as Los Posadas every year that is attended by over 8,000 people.

Sources for the History of the Nativity Scene >