Monday, 16 December 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!

That's 'Happy Christmas' if you didn't know.

One of the most interesting traditions in Spain can be seen every Christmas. The Belén.

Belén translates as Bethlehem, but it means the Nativity scene of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the manger in the stable.

With the Reyos Magos in the background.

Surrounded by the Pastores.


And their ovejas.

And other assorted livestock like burros, vacas, camelos...

And productos. Can you see zanahorias, tomates, flores, calabacínes, lechugas and a few palmeras giving datilles?

Also pan, peras, platanos...

There are assorted building materials and utensils... I can see ladrillos, tejas and leña.

Mantas and candiles...

Macetas and jaras...

And, here in Valencia...

A Belén can come in all shapes and sizes, like the pequeño at the top. The grande, below.

Mercado Colón, Valencia.

Some are of positively biblical proportions...

Murcia city centre.

Many families visit the large Belénes in shopping centres, town halls, shops. But the most fun seems to be the one you build at home, adding a piece or two every year from the markets which sell all the stuff in the pictures. I took these snaps in Valencia's Mercado Colón in early December, and it really was quite a small collection. I know there's a much bigger market for Belén materials outside the catedral in Barcelona every year. So if you're in Spain over the Cristmas season, why not pick up a souvenir. Like one of these...

These are the (in)famous Cagadores which many Spanish children delight in searching for. (They don't feature in every Belén.) It started as a Catalan tradition but it seems to have spread at least as far as here in Valencia.

¡Feliz Navidad a todos! I'll be back in the año nuevo.

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