Creating Your Own Santons Village

Posted on December 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

At the November 2014 opening of an exhibition of thirty Christmas nativity scenes and creches from around the world at the University of Notre Dame, Rev. Johann G. Roten, S.M., Director of Research and Special Projects at the University of Dayton, Ohio, delivered a lecture entitled: “The Crèche: A Celebration of Christmas and Culture.”

Roten spoke of the fact that crèches illustrate the close relationship between culture and religion and that there are "three fundamental ways of looking at nativity traditions, which can be categorized as “mountain” (Latin origin), “landscape” (German tradition) or “village"..... 

The 'village' is found in crèches of the French tradition, especially those of the Provence region.... All inhabitants of the village... come to the manger...." The 'village is an expression of the global village, but also of theological harmony. "We have on the one hand great unity and on the other great diversity around the baby in the manger.”

He speaks, of course, of the Provençal tradition of the Santons' Creche, where the biblical figures (in biblical dress) are celebrated by villagers of all kinds (in the dress of 18th and 19th century southern France) - young and old, rich and poor, and from all walks of life.

The 'village' of the creche is celebrated not only by its diversity of the figures, but also by displaying them in a true 'village' scene. It is common for families to build their own Santons' dioramas and for Provençal villages and towns to build even larger ones that are displayed during the Advent season and even in their museums year round

The Carbonel Studios provide a schematic for creating a village with the larger size Santons (Size #3 - Grande) in the front and building up-hill with perspective, placing the smaller sizes (Size #1 -Cricket and Size Puce - Flea) further back.

Carbonel accessories - houses, wells, windmills, fountains, bridges, porticos, trees, etc. are all available for creating your display.


We have been collecting ideas on creating your own Santons - Nativity village on our My Growing Traditions' Pinterest Board on DIY Santons - Nativity - Dioramas. Enjoy! 


Posted in Carbonel Santons, Christmas Traditions, French Christmas, Nativities, Provence Christmas



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