Vatican to display Christmas crib from the Andes

Christmas tree in Piazza S. Pietro will come from Trentino.

This year the Vatican will display a Nativity Scene with figurines dressed in Andean costumes in what will be the first Christmas crib in St Peter's Square to come from the Americas.

Work is currently underway to install the crib, created by five artists from the Chopcca Nation of indigenous peoples in the Huancavelica region of Peru, ahead of its inauguration on Friday 10 December.

The more than 30 life-sized figurines, made of ceramic, maguey wood and fibreglass, will be dressed in traditional Chopcca costumes and the crib will feature alpacas, vicunas and the Andean condor, Peru’s national symbol.

Photo Catholic News Agency

Baby Jesus will be represented as a "Hilipuska" child, reports Vatican News, wrapped in a typical Huancavelica blanket tied with a "chumpi" or woven belt.

The Three Wise Men will carry traditional food including quinoa and other indigenous cereals, and they will be accompanied by llamas draped in the Peruvian flag.

In a statement the Vatican press office said the Nativity Scene represents a cross-section of the life of the peoples of the Andes and celebrates the bicentennial of Peru's independence.

The inauguration ceremony on 10 December will also see the Vatican switch on the lights on its Christmas tree, a red fir gifted from the north Italian region of Trentino.

The 28m-high tree is from a sustainable forestry management project in Andalo and the wooden decorations will also be provided by Trentino.

The Vatican will illuminate the Christmas tree with sustainable, low-energy lights, according to the Holy See press office.

Cover photo Voz de la Diáspora