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.
The first Presépio was created by Saint Francis in Greccio, Italy in 1223 and featured real people and animals.
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!
The details were fabulous:
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!
Then came the farmer and his donkey:
The clothes and outfits are brilliant
And then more sheep!
How cute are these little fluffies – with a rather realistic sheepskin:
Miss Kat was back in action again, adding herself to several of the displays centred around the main square – spot the real sheepdog!
The outfits and scale of the figures is quite amazing:
Hours of work has gone into painstakingly creating all of these figures …
But then you enter the square – and you are greeted with the most amazing sight:
A fabulous village scene – recreated with the most amazing attention to detail:
With houses, figures, animals and rural life in its entirety:
The water feature even has live fish!
Many of the figures are mechanical and really bring everything to life:
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:
The details are fantastic:
So many occupations and livelihoods are portrayed:
Loaf of bread anyone?
Local features are also given special coverage too:
Isn’t this potter fabulous?
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?
The three Kings herald the advent of Christ’s birth – carrying their gifts of course …
Although some people are still busy plying their trade …
And these guys seem oblivious to everything except their card game!
The main event – beautifully portrayed with a glowing backlight
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:
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.