December 19, 2014

French Friday: Crèche

Beginning the first Sunday in Advent, 
adults and children peer into crèche at Notre Dame de Paris, 
awaiting the arrival of the Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.

In Provence, the Nativity expands beyond the Holy Family and shepherds to include santons -- "little saints" -- who represent typical towns people, family, and neighbors. In a traditional Provençal crèche, there are 55 individual figures representing various characters from Provençal village life. The first santons were created by Marseillais during the French Revolution when churches were forcibly closed and public displays of faith such as the Nativity were prohibited. 

When I was in thirteen, my grandma gave me a crèche and each year she added pieces to it. Although it isn't nearly as detailed as a Provençal nativity, mine includes an angel named Gloria, a sleepy shepherd named Ephraim, and tiny goats on the roof!

You can take the girl out of Door County, but...