N is for Nativity

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” Isaiah 9:6

One of the traditional sights of Christmas in Portugal is the Nativity scene- and even in these days of austerity and recession, this enduring symbol of Christmas can still be found:

Christmas Nativity Ferragudo village

Ferragudo has its own little scene (above) which is set into a little carved rock cave by the side of the road – there is something quite charming and innocent about this one. 

We also wanted to make sure that we had our own little offering sat under our Christmas tree this year – ours is a simple little affair too:

Christmas Nativity

Many councils like to announce the coming King on a much larger scale – in Portimão the location of the crib may change each year – but wherever they place it in the town – you certainly can’t miss it!

Christmas Nativity Portimao

The first time you walk past this life-size Nativity scene you certainly have to stop and have a look, it is quite impressive.

Christmas Nativity Portimao

After all – it’s not every day that you see a life-size camel on the Algarve!

Christmas Nativity Portimao

Then you look a little closer – and start to giggle! This year someone has placed a ‘make a wish’ lantern with a jar to collect money beside it on a stand in front of the Nativity scene – and sat beside that are these two figures – who I am pretty certain were not at the original crib in Jerusalem:

Christmas Nativity Portimao

If anyone can tell me the significance of these two – please do!

Even the smallest villages join in with the Nativity tradition – this was Alte last Christmas – with another impressively large addition to a roundabout at the entrance to the village:

Christmas Nativity Alte village

Many shops and stores also join in with the tradition:

Christmas Nativity

And even the smallest little outfit often has an elaborate scene taking pride of place in the window:

Christmas Nativity

This one below has a wonderful simplicity and design that I really like:

Christmas Nativity

And this one was a far more elaborately inspired collection:

Christmas Nativity Lagoa shop

Even the local toy shop joined in – although I am not sure about some of the visitors to the crib here:

Christmas Nativity Lagos toy shop

Sometimes the juxtaposition of the figures can seem at odds with the upmarket clothes and goods on display in the shop window – and some can give you a very unusual image too:

Christmas Nativity Portimao shop

One of my favourite shots though has to be this one of the church in Lagos last Christmas – with the elaborately draped and embroidered scene of the Nativity hanging proudly from the church entrance – and underneath sits a homeless man begging:

Christmas Nativity Lagos church homeless

Sort of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

Wherever you are – and whatever your Christmas traditions – may we wish you ‘Boas Festas’ and ‘Feliz Natal’

And if you have enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy our Christmas post from last year – The 12 Days of Christmas – Portuguese Style


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46 Responses to N is for Nativity

  1. Pingback: N is for Nativity – Algarve Blog « My A to Z Blogging Challenge

  2. Gallivanta says:

    Great to be given a tour of all the different Nativity scenes. I don’t think I have seen one nativity scene this year in our city. Must be one somewhere.

  3. jennnadams says:

    I’ve never seen so many different nativity’s scenes before! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  4. Merry Christmas and thanks so much for allowing us to see the nativity in so many different mediums of art form. Simply beautiful.

  5. restlessjo says:

    Aw, these were nice, Aly! Rather liked those figures that look like leaning clothes pegs too. I’m having a twirl around all the lovely Christmas blogs before I go and peel veg. ‘Spect I’ll have a noggin. Merry Christmas once more.

  6. megtraveling says:

    Merry Christmas Alyson!

  7. Merry Christmas. Thank you for the tour of the different scenes. I think I like the simple best.

  8. Valentina says:

    Beautiful photos and lovely manger’s scenes. Merry Christmas.

  9. Madhu says:

    Gorgeous nativity scenes! The modern ones – the white ceramic and the pewter looking ones – grab me in particular 🙂

  10. How beautiful!!! :X:X:X Love it!!!

  11. Ho!Ho!Ho! Santa’s come a little later, but full of presents. I’ve nominated for “Blog of the Year 2012″ on the http://www.destinepierdute.wordpress.com blog.

  12. Amy says:

    Beautiful nativity scenes! Wonderful selections.

  13. vivinfrance says:

    What a delightful post. Thank you for sharing them. I think the nude figures are probably Adam and Eve – anachronistic and out of context

  14. It’s nice to see people remembering what it’s really all about.

  15. icittadiniprimaditutto says:

    Reblogged this on i cittadini prima di tutto.

  16. I love Nativity Scenes…thanks for sharing.
    Happy New Years!!!

  17. robot/ul says:

    the 6th image is freack :)) boobs :))

  18. Damaris says:

    I love your beautiful paintings.
    Do you find ‘living’ nativity scenes in Portugal, with real people standing there? I once came across one by accident in a church in Assisi. The participants were standing absolutely still and the atmosphere of reverence was palpable.
    Happy New Year to you!

    • ferragudofan says:

      thank you! and wow! what a great Nativity idea! I have never seen this before, it sounds amazing – especially if you didn’t know about it and just came across it!
      Have a great New Year and thanks for visiting and commenting

  19. Happy New Year. Looking forward to your posts in the new year.

  20. utesmile says:

    Great to see so many different nativity scenes, all so different but all great. ( haha love tha naked couple). Happy new year to you!

  21. adinparadise says:

    This is such a wonderful post. That last photo of the beautiful Nativity scene above the beggar man, is very poignant indeed. Yes, it certainly does make one think. 😕

  22. cindy knoke says:

    this is so lovely! kudos~

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