Genuine deluxe hand cut and pressed tin nativity scene crafted in Mexico. Cute colours. Comes with raffia bought in Australia as straw. Fair Trade.
All major characters are included, 3 Magi, 1 shepherd, an angel, Joseph, Virgin Mary, baby Jesus in a manger (an animal feed trough), a donkey or Ass and an ox with raffia representing straw. Each piece is neatly wrapped and the set comes in a recycled paper cardboard box for storage hand stamped in with Oz Holy Kitsch! brand. Each piece reaches up to 12cm.
As the text says Jesus was born where the animals were kept and so a gentle tale as to how we too are born the same as animals and another mouth to feed.
Mexicans naturally find this time of year a great excuse to bond as villagers, also city folk to celebrate and remember that they are a part of the broader community. That means plays , La Pastorelas based on the nativity when numerous join in for their outrageous nativity plays, it is very relaxed with people allowed to prompt lines, sometimes bawdy depending where. In these the three wise men are intercepted and put off course by playful devils the angels have to rescue and re-direct them so that the plays become comedic with a great ending all can enjoy. Themes are at times focused on eg feminism and issues with gaining entry to the city etc
Most Christian families arrange a nativity in their main or front room often using Old Mans Beard to decorate the ground of the Nativity (it is native to Mexico). The children then join together for Las Posadas from December 16 to 24 this is most popular in the villages. The children go from house to house each evening asking "is there any room", posada meaning inn. Usually 3 houses per night, the kids form a procession and dress up as Mary and Jesus and other characters. They sing outside the houses. When let in to a house finally, another character is added to the nativity scene and a pinata might be set up for fun with chocolates inside, small gifts are given to the kids. On the night before Christmas baby Jesus is added lastly. They keep it to around 3 houses per night.
After baby Jesus being added everyone joins in for midnight Mass followed by a Christmas feast and of course Christmas gifts.
In the city of Oaxaca on December 23, there is a unique event called La Noche de los Rabanos Night of the Radishes Oversized radishes are carved into elaborate figures. Originally these were for nativity scenes but today there is a major competition in which the vegetables are carved in all kinds of figures.
On December 3, a nine-day novena is begun in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe which ends on her feast day of December 12. The most important event related to this time is the pilgrimage to her basilica in Mexico City which Holy Kitsch! has visited.
People come to pay respects by all means of transportation from airplanes to bicycles to walking. This pilgrimage is undertaken by a large number of Mexican Catholics, regardless of race or class. Every ear hundreds of members of the Japanese Mexican community (which is mainly Catholic) make the pilgrimage in kimonos, note please Shiz, actually some of your designs have a kimono feel.
The area in and around the basilica begins to crowd with lights, fireworks and indigenous people dancing starting at dusk on December 11 and goes on all night and into the next day. This image of the Virgin Mary is honored in all of Mexico in various ways. In the very early morning hours of the 12th, the song Las Mananitas is sung to the Virgin Mary.
The noche buena is poinsettia another indigenous plant and is used for Christmas decorations in Mexico. In Australia we use Christmas bush, an indigenous flowering shrub that flowers profusely at Christmas.
Midnight services are common in Australia especially at the cathedrals in the city centres. If you have a small local church the service might be more personal and less formal, sharing the best dessert wine ever and the officiating minister talking about the subtle meanings of the story, nothing awful or scary, and its broader implications as well as a time to catch up with locals. That was where I heard the version of the Virgin Mary being a single mother.
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