Christmas angel figurine
The santon of the Archangel Gabriel is the one that announces the birth of the baby Jesus, especially to the shepherds. It should be installed behind the baby Jesus, or suspended above the stable.
He must be accompanied in the crib with the santon Marie, the santon Jesus, the santon Joseph without forgetting the donkey and the ox.
Your Christmas crib
The Nativity, (Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, Joseph, the donkey, the ox and the angel) and the Three Kings are obligatory. They are the basis of the Christmas crib.
A place must be left free, between the Blessed Virgin and Joseph, to welcome the baby Jesus there on December 24 at midnight, and not before !!!
The Blessed Virgin will be put with the donkey by her side and Joseph with the ox. Tradition has it that the Virgin Mary is next to the donkey because it is on her back that she arrived as far as Bethlehem, then fled to Egypt. She donated to the donkey of Provence at that time the Cross of Saint André (The cross of Provence).
Did you know ?
The word santon comes from the provencal word 'santoun' (written here in Mistralian spelling) which means 'little saint'. Originally, living nativity scenes were intended to recreate the Nativity scene in churches, and this since the Middle Ages under Saint Francis of Assisi. But the French Revolution banned them in public, leading families to use dummy figurines to continue the tradition in their homes.
These figures were made from different materials (papier mâché, bread crumbs, plaster). In Marseille, in the 19th century, competition from Neapolitan merchants who sold plaster santibelli, generated resistance from Provençal santonniers. They imposed baked clay and offered their creations on santon markets. These are still very popular today, alongside the Christmas markets.
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