The Magic of the Christmas Presépio

There is something magical about the traditional Presépio here in Portugal – and aside from all of the major ones that abound in the towns and cities .. we were astonished and delighted to visit the tiny village of Alferce, near Monchique .. and found the most exquisite and intricately detailed – and huge – Presépio in the main square in the village.

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The first Presépio was created by Saint Francis in Greccio, Italy in 1223 and featured real people and animals.

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

We were greeted by the three Magi on their camels entering the village and we suddenly realised that although this is a tiny village .. they had really gone to town on this!

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The details were fabulous:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Next came a shepherd and his sheep .. and our little Kat the dog – who is often called ‘ovelha’ by our local villagers .. decided that the display could do with an extra sheep!

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Then came the farmer and his donkey:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The clothes and outfits are brilliant

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

And then more sheep!

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

How cute are these little fluffies – with a rather realistic sheepskin:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Miss Kat was back in action again, adding herself to several of the displays centred around the main square – spot the real sheepdog!

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The outfits and scale of the figures is quite amazing:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Hours of work has gone into painstakingly creating all of these figures …

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

But then you enter the square – and you are greeted with the most amazing sight:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

A fabulous village scene – recreated with the most amazing attention to detail:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

With houses, figures, animals and rural life in its entirety:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The water feature even has live fish!

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Many of the figures are mechanical and really bring everything to life:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

You keep wanting to look more closely at each one to see what they are portraying – tiny little cameos of rural life brought magically to life for you to see:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The details are fantastic:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

So many occupations and livelihoods are portrayed:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Loaf of bread anyone?

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Local features are also given special coverage too:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Isn’t this potter fabulous?

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

It’s only when you look closely at some of the figures that you begin to see the brilliant details and small touches that make you want to know the story behind each character .. who is this mother waiting for?

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The three Kings herald the advent of Christ’s birth – carrying their gifts of course …

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Although some people are still busy plying their trade …

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

And these guys seem oblivious to everything except their card game!

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The main event – beautifully portrayed with a glowing backlight

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

Note the searinhas, or small wheat sprigs, around the Presépio – which we have discovered is a tradition in the Algarve – it symbolises asking the baby Jesus to bless your home and to provide for all of your household’s needs.

After enjoying the Presépio again – we popped into the village church as well and were delighted to find such a well preserved and charming church which dates from the 13th century:

Alferce Presépio de Natal Algarve Blog

The Presépio in Alferce is in situ until the 22nd January – if you get the chance – do go along and see it for yourself.

And can we wish all of our readers a very Happy Christmas – there have been over 100,000 views of this little blog this year – thank you to each and every one of you for your support, it really has amazed us and inspired us. Thank you and Season’s Greetings to you all.

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This entry was posted in Algarve, Events, News and information, Places to Visit and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Magic of the Christmas Presépio

  1. restlessjo says:

    It’s all outdoors then? We’ll be there! 🙂 Merry Christmas to you, Dave and Miss Kat 🙂 Wishing you joy in 2017.

  2. Thank you for taking these lovely photos, `i can’t be there but I feel I have been there

  3. BeckyB says:

    oh wow . . .we love them and this one is incredible. Maybe we’ll make it across this week to have a look 🙂

  4. Wow !!! These figures are aamazing !!!
    About Three Kings: I invite for my post about that celebration in Spain:
    https://traveltomeetyourheart.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/feliz-reyes-magos-celebration-of-three-kings-in-spain/

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