Vatican Nativity

Vatican Nativity Scene 2021 Comes from Andes

What is a Nativity Scene?

A nativity scene is a depiction of the night of Jesus' birth as described in Matthew and Luke's Gospels. Nativities may take the form of paintings, miniatures, interactive exhibits, or sculptures, but they all feature the same components: the Baby Jesus in a manger, mother Mary; his earthly father, Joseph; shepherds; angels; various barn animals; a star; and, occasionally, three wise men bearing presents.

Nativity Scenes at the Vatican

Every year, the Vatican City also decks up with lights and ornaments for Christmas. The Nativity scene and the Christmas Tree tend to take center stage. The tradition started at the Vatican in 1982 thanks to Pope John Paul II, who maintained that these portrayals were “a sign of faith in God.”

The creche is put on display in the Advent season — four weeks of preparation leading up to Christmas. However, baby Jesus only makes an appearance in the manger on Christmas Eve. The scene is taken down on the day of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, i.e. the 12th day of Christmas, in early January.

Christmas at the Vatican

Vatican Nativity

The Vatican Christmas Eve mass, held in the breathtaking backdrop of St. Peter's Basilica, is the most-watched Christmas mass in the world.

The Pope's Urbi et Orbi is a papal discourse and apostolic blessing that takes place on Christmas Day. It includes greetings in a variety of languages in order to appeal to as many people as possible who are enjoying the occasion. The Urbi et Orbi occurs only twice a year, the other time being on Easter Sunday.

Visiting Vatican City during Christmas is an experience unlike anything else and you are bound to have a memorable time if you decide to take this trip.

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Brief History of Nativity Scenes at the Vatican

The Vatican Nativity, which is located in Saint Peter's Square, is a recent addition. Pope John Paul II initiated it in 1982. The same figures were utilized for 30 years, but every Christmas, the Vatican paid for a new scene. Archbishop Vigan was the one who approached Pope Benedict about the annual crèche expenditures in 2011. The annual costs of constructing the scenario amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The concept of having a nativity given from various regions of Italy was then proposed, and in 2012, this project began.

Vatican Nativity 2021

Vatican Nativity

The nativity scene that will be placed in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican to commemorate Christmas in 2021 will come from Chopcca, Peru, a little village nestled in the Andes at an elevation of almost 12,000 feet. More than 30 items created by five prominent Huancavelica craftsmen will make up the nativity scene that will adorn the Vatican during Christmas. Huancavelica is located midway between Lima and Cusco. The images of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, the Child Jesus, the Magi, and the shepherds will be made on a realistic scale with materials such as ceramics, maguey wood, and fiberglass. A "Hilipuska" child will portray Jesus, wrapped in a "chumpi" or woven belt and draped in a traditional Huancavelica blanket. The Three Wise Men will carry popular superfoods such as quinoa, kiwicha, caihua, and potatoes. They will be accompanied by Llamas that will have the Peruvian flag on their backs. Other local Peruvian animals such as alpacas, vicuñas, sheep, vizcachas, parihuanas or Andean flamingos, and the condor will also feature the scene.

Prominent Nativity Scenes at the Vatican

Vatican Nativity

2012: The year’s nativity was donated by Basilicata. New figures were used in this year’s nativity scene.

2013: Naples donated this year’s nativity. This was Pope Francis’ first Nativity.

2014: This year’s nativity was donated by Verona and it was known for being especially gorgeous by the night.

2015: Trento donated this year’s nativity. The figurines were dressed in Trento clothing, and the structures were designed in the same style as the city.

2016: This year’s nativity was donated by Malta. The many earthquakes of the year made into the nativities across Italy including the Vatican nativity.

Vatican Nativity

2017: Naples donated the Vatican nativity of 2017. With a buff naked person and a dead arm dangling off a stretcher, this nativity, which was supposed to represent tangible actions of kindness, sparked a lot of controversies.

2018: This year’s nativity was donated by Veneto. The statues of this year’s nativity are conventional in style and well done, despite being made of sand.

2019: Trento was responsible for this year’s nativity. They included traditional clothing and architecture once again. They took it a step further by integrating some actual residents.

2020: This year’s nativity was contributed by Abruzzo. The elaborate nativity set consisted of 54 pieces. However, the Vatican’s Nativity 2020 scene prompted much criticism for its ‘Back to the Future’ theme. 

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