Pessebres vivants …. real people acting out Living Nativity Scenes.
El Pessebre is a representation of the Nativity Story.
As in several countries, the Catalans have a Christmas tradition of creating a Crib Scene with the Shepherds, Wise Men, Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus, a tableau that they will often set up in home or gardens.
A comical addition to this traditional scene is “El caganer”, the statue of a Catalonian peasant with trousers half down, sitting in a ‘toilet’ position and making his small contribution to the land, in order to fertilize and ensure a bumper crop the following year!!
Some households create a nativity scene in their house or garden.
In some towns and villages, however, these Nativity scenes come out onto the streets, life-size, to convey the essence of these festivities The leading characters, dressed up in period clothes, take their places in meticulously decorated stage-sets portraying traditional, historical and biblical scenes. Sometimes they will also sing and talk, other times they will just stand/sit without moving!! The census of the Jews, the difficulties encountered by Joseph and Mary as they looked for somewhere to stay, the Nativity and the coming of the Three Wise Men are among the many portrayals you will be able to witness. In some of these creations, there will be a commentary and spectacular special effects and lighting.