Nativity Scenes presumably originated from acted tableau vivants (French for "living picture") in Rome, however Saint Francis of Assisi contributed to the establishment of the tradition by introducing three-dimensional Nativity Scenes after his return to Italy in 1220 from Egypt. In 1223, St. Francis requested his friend Giovanni Velita, a nobleman from the town of Greccio, to it make a Nativity Scene for a Christmas Eve mass he was preaching. The constructed Nativity Scene was comprised of a straw-filled manger (feeding trough), an ox and a donkey (representing the people of Israel and the Gentiles, an allusion to Isaiah 1:3), all placed in a cave near the town of Greccio. Since this time, the Nativity Scene has developed in many varying forms from miniature figures to life-sized, as the tradition is still celebrated worldwide. Multiple Nativity Scenes being made today are commercially produced using porcelain, plaster, plastic, or cardboard to be temporary displayed within a church, home, public place, or natural setting.
You can continue this tradition in your own home or community, or wherever the Christmas Spirit takes you this year. This small creche made in Poland is handmade out of natural products. The artist uses wood, plaster, paper, bark, moss and selected grass planted for hay. The Nativity Scene is set in a wooden stable featuring non-adjustable figurines of Mary and Joseph kneeling in prayer over the holy Baby Jesus, a laying lamb, and the guiding star overhead. Each creche is packaged nicely in a Christmas Nativity Scene themed cardboard box with the greeting Wesolych Swiat (Polish for "Merry Christmas") printed on the front.
Creche Measures approx. 8.0" Long x 3.0" Wide x 4.25" Tall