|Nacimientos | New Year 2004 | My First Taller | Lenten Processions|
|Antigua | Outskirts of Antigua|
Topics of Interest:
|Volcanoes | Security Concerns|
A nacimiento is a nativity scene, displayed throughout the Christmas season in many countries of Hispanic culture. Here in Antigua, people create them by hand in their homes, for display in public buildings, in commercial establishments, and in churches.
The local government tourist office has a map posted in its window giving the location of some of the more elaborate ones, and people come especially to Antigua to see them. Some church congregations even build more than one, as is the case at the famous Merced church in Antigua. We saw both of them, and the work involved in the detailed and complex scenes is most impressive.
At the larger one in Merced, an entire city of Antigua had been created. Three painted brown paper volcanos surrounded a carefully laid out street grid with brightly painted houses along each street and alley. A river of flowing water ran from one of the hills above the town and followed a curving path around the town. And on a hillside at some distance from the town center, the nativity scene appeared with sheep and angels and kings admiring the Child in its small crib. At the cathedral in Antigua a nacimiento with life size images is mounted on the small elevated plaza outside the main doors and another is inside. We looked at the much smaller ones at San Francisco and in various public buildings, but nothing could compare with the one in La Merced.
Nacimientos are found everywhere, not just in Antigua. A similarly large and captivating one is in the Church of San Francisco in Tecpán. Decorated with Spanish moss – a popular Christmas decoration, gathered and sold for the purpose – and with strings of lights, it also included a variety of figures and constructions in a Tecpán landscape. The scene included a substantial market area, along with the Tecpán central square and the San Francisco church itself, all depicted in the forms of colors of reality. The loving work of the church members, shared with the community and with visitors, cannot help but touch even a non-religious on-looker. And the delightful tiny details on the individual figures and buildings speak to the artist in all of us.