What better time to remember the origin of the “Belen”( Nativity) and its importance during the celebration of these holidays.
We begin this post with a little history about “the birth of the Manger”. But before we start talking about the origin of the Nativity may be it is interesting to mention the meaning and why of its name.
Belen ( The Nativity) is a Palestinian city in the West Bank region about 9 kms from Jerusalem. It has a great religious significance especially for Christians as it is the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, therefore this representation of the birth of Chris, known as “Belen”.
Throughout the centuries there have been many attempts to put a “date” on the origin of the “Belén” (Nativity), being in the second century in the Roman Catacombs of St. Priscilla and later n in the fourth century in the of St. Sebastian, where the first images of the Child appear, the Virgin at his side accompanied by an ox, a mule and some shepherds. St. Joseph appears in the 5th century.
This representation of the “Mystery of the Nativity” as we know it today, as an ephemeral construction of different figures representing biblical moments of birth, has its beginnings in Greccio, a small town in Italy located between Rome and Assisi
In the year 1223, St. Francis of Assisi decided to create a Nativity scene in a cave that was in this Italian town, to celebrate the Midnight Mass. From this moment we can say that begins the tradition of including during these dates a mystery of the birth in the churches and that little by little is extended by other countries like Spain, France and that will be the origin of the Bethlehem as we know it at the moment.
At first it will be a privilege of the church and nobility and little by little it will be extended to the rest of the town. In Spain we can say that the origin of the Belen ( The Nativity) comes with the Franciscan order in the fifteenth century. From the 16th century onwards, two schools can be distinguished in our country. The Castilian and the Andalusian. In Andalusia, important sculptors such as Martinez Montañez, Duque de Cornejo or Luisa Roldan, popularly known as “La Roldana”, stand out.
The origin of the Belen reaches its maximum splendor in the 18th century. With the arrival of Charles III who comes from Naples to reign and orders to build the Prince’s Nativity scene for his son, the future King Charles IV, with Neapolitan figures and others already made in Spain. This creation will be copied by both, the Spanish and Neapolitan nobility and will be extended over time to all Spanish homes.
Nowadays you can also see Nativity scenes in different public spaces being one of the attractions of the cities and towns during these dates.
Come with us and we will show you the beautiful Nativity scenes in Seville.