Look Into Hispanic Traditions To Get Some Ideas
Outdoor Nativity sets are part of Hispanic culture from the times missionaries came to convert the indigenous people of the New World to become Roman Catholic.
In Hispanic American countries Catholic faith is deeply engraved in our religious traditions, and from these religious practices come the usage of outdoor pesebres.
Outdoor nativity scenes are not new. They were used since the beginning of the representation of the nativity scenes because the Catholic church used them as a tool to convert souls into Catholicism.
The Catholic church created big outdoor nativity scenes made of human size figures for people to see and congregate around to pray.
The tradition of having an outdoor nativity set has not stopped. In many cities throughout Latin America you can find them, for example a small town in Boyacá Colombia called Cucaita, artisans from the community make an outdoor nativity with pieces that measure up to four meters height. They make the shepherds look like typical inhabitants of the region, giving the nativity a human touch.
At San Peter’s Square in Rome there is an outdoor nativity set that is built every year. The tradition started in 1982 with Pope Juan Pablo II. The figures are human size and include Mary, Joseph, one donkey, one ox, a manger and angels made by the Mexican artist Agustin Parra.
One of the most beautiful artisans fair happens on December in Cusco, Peru where they celebrate the Santuranticuy Festival. The festival attracts hundreds of artisans who come to offer every Christmast raditional carved nativities for indoors and outdoors, figures and images of saints.
Throughout Latin American countries, an outdoor nativity set is generally limited to the stable, donkey, ox, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the star of Bethlehem.
In some occasions the nativity scene includes the Three Wise Men, but the incredibly elaborate backgrounds of houses and villas many families in Spanish speaking countries create for the nativity is favored to indoor sets.
For many years families in the U.S. started placing outdoor nativity sets on their lawns to profess their Catholic faith and celebrate the birth of Jesus. For many this has been controversial, but many more outdoor nativity sets are in American lawns every Christmas. This is more prevalent in South Western U.S. where there are states that belonged to Spain and have a strong Hispanic population.
Elements of an Outdoors Nativity
The main elements are Mary the mother of Jesus, Joseph the father of Jesus, an ox, a donkey, a sheep, some shepherds, the manger that serves as the crib for baby Jesus, the stable where Jesus was born, the star of Bethlehem which guides the Three Wise Men and the shepherds to the baby, and the Three wise men Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazarlike we call then in Spanish.
Many people think the manger is the stable, but they are different because the manger is what serves as the crib. It is called el pajar in Spanish because is made of straw or paja. The Stable is the entire place where the three of them Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus stayed for the night when escaping from what is known as the killing of the innocents by king Herod. In Spanish it is called el establo.
Placing nativities outdoors is making outdoor nativity sets one of the most sought after items for the holiday season. Below I have a selection of some of Joseph’s Studio outdoor Nativity figures that can make your nativity outdoors a success.