THIS nativity scene was hand carved and hand painted in Oberammergau, Bavaria. Photos: David Burke

Carving the Crib

A hand-carved nativity scene links Tuam and Germany

WHEN the youngest person in the house places the Baby Jesus in the crib on December 24, the Christmas season has truly begun.

While the tree may be bigger and flashier, and the multitude of brightly wrapped presents beneath it draws the eye, the crib remains the quiet, still centre of Christmas in most Irish homes.

And not just Irish homes: all over the world the nativity scene is depicted in the local style.

Southern France has its santons, in which traditional local characters like a knife grinder or a vegetable seller take their places around the manger.

In Africa the baby and his parents are black, and in South America they wear traditional clothing.

Our cribs are, in general, based on the Italian sculptures that were imported in their thousands to churches, schools and homes in the 19th and 20th centuries…

For more, check out this week’s Tuam Herald or log onto our digital edition HERE