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NATIVITY CRIBS IN PERU

Christmas Celebracion

Celebration of Christmas in Lima To Related image to the Multimedia Gallerybegan in 1535 and, frankly, it was not much fun because wine was very costly and could only be used for the very sick or for mass; besides, desserts and candies were forbidden because sugar was in such short supply that to make them cost the earth, and chicha corn beer, later known as "Urine of the Child", could not be made.

In time, things improved. Celebrations, according to Gálvez's account, began December 7 as a homage to the Most Pure Conception. On the 13th, day of Saint Lucía, little pots of wheat were sown, essential for every crib worthy of the name. On the 15th began the novena of gifts.

On the night of the 24th, in people's homes the novena ended and the Crib was unveiled. All the family was invited; there were prayers and acts of contrition, ending up with the strains of harp or clavichord, depending on the class and status of the hosts, with dances from the most modest and genteel to those that, as they said, "were not exactly for decorous folk."

The custom of Cribs in Lima goes back to the first Christmases. The figures made by skilled highland craftsmen in Huancayo, Huamanga To Related image to the Multimedia Gallery and Cuzco took on purely national features; to make them, wood, soapstone and even rags were used.

The ingenuity of Limeños enlarged greatly on the crib that Saint Francis of Assisi venerated in the Church of Santa Maria in the 12th century and which gave rise to the custom of setting up cribs.

The original crib represented only the family of Jesus and the accompanying animals, but the Lima variant had besides: the Annunciation, the shepherds, two groups of the Three Kings with trains of llamas in gold and silver; representations of biblical passages such as the flight into Egypt, the sacrifice by Abraham, the dispute in the temple, Noah's ark, plus a series of typical local characters: the jasmine vender, the tamale vender, the baker, the ice-cream man, the ironer of the Child's diapers...and many, many more.

Christmas celebrations ended on January 6th with the customary lowering of the Three Kings on horse, elephant or camel, to place them in front of the cribs in people's homes.

In homes that had the finest cribs, the doors were left open so that people could see inside. Guests drank corn beer, purple-corn beer or wholesome "urine of the Child".


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