Nativity Scenes from around the Globe

Christ was born as King of the whole world. Learn about nativity scenes from different cultures in the Diocese of Parramatta.
St Patrick's Cathedral Nativity Scene. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta

This article explores the nativity scenes of ethnic communities in the Diocese of Parramatta.

Nativity scenes are a great way to bring Christ to the centre of your celebration of Christmas and building them is a fun activity with your family.

St Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first Nativity Scene for this reason: put Christ, not commercialism, at the centre of Christmas.

The spread of nativity scenes across the cultures of the world is a sign of Christ’s reign across the entire world. All festivities and external manifestations of Christmas point to this powerful truth.

This stanza from a former poet laureate of the United Kingdom communicates the power of the Incarnation, an event that permanently changed the entire world and is never overshadowed by the celebrations of Christmas:

“No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was Man in Palestine
And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.”

– John Betjeman, ‘Christmas’

 

1. Africa

 

There are many diverse African nativity scenes, befitting the massive continent.

The nativity scene below is hand carved.

An African Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the African Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta:
Africa Day Mass bridges gap

 

2. China

 

This depiction contains a traditional Chinese elm tree with a curved trunk.

Traditional robes are worn from the Han dynasty.

A Chinese Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Chinese Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Chinese Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta:
Chinese Community Welcomes New Year

 

3. Croatia

 

Croatian nativity scenes are often elaborate and contain many animals.

croatian-creche

A Croatian Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Croatian Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta:
Croatian Catholic Centre, Blacktown.

 

4. Germany

 

German nativity scenes are sometimes made from paper.

In the south, Austria and Tyrol, they are often hand cut from wood.

Beautiful nativity scenes are often found at German Christmas Markets.

german-creche

A German Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the German Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Parramatta:
Catholic Outlook, December 2016

 

5. Hungary

Hungarian creches began as a theatrical performance.

A tradition emerged of carrying statues in procession, which lead to the current creches.

The village of Vörs in Hungary contains the largest Church nativity scene in Europe, at 5o square metres.

An Hungarian Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

An Hungarian Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Hungarian Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta:
Hands of Healing, Catholic Outlook

 

6. Italy

 

This is an ornate Neapolitan nativity scene, or ‘presepe’.

Naples is famous for its elaborate nativity scenes, which developed under the patronage of Charles III, King of Naples.

italian-creche

An Italian Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Italian Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta.

 

7. Malta

 

This is a live scene from Malta, or ‘presepju’.

This year’s Nativity Scene at St Peter’s Square is from Malta.

maltese-creche

A live Maltese Nativity scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Maltese Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Parramatta.

 

8. Philippines

 

This Filipino nativity scene, or ‘belen’ is made from bamboo and other local materials.

The Belenismo Festival in Tarlac, Philippines is one of the largest nativity scene festivals in the world.

philippines-creche

A Filipino Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Filipino Community of the Diocese of Parramatta:
Nuncio receives a warm welcome from Filipino Catholic community

 

9. Poland

 

Polish nativity scenes have intricate designs.

They often depict Christ’s manger under the shelter of a Cathedral.

polish-creche

A Polish Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Polish Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta:
The Church is a social and faith driven hub, Catholic Outlook

 

10.  Slovenia

 

Slovenians also get into the nativity scene sprit.

Many families make their own with live moss.

slovenian-creche

A Slovenian Nativity Scene. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Read more about the Slovenian Chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta.

RELATED STORIES

Follow

Follow this blog

Get a daily email of all new posts.

Email address

First Name (*)

Last Name (*)