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What is the History of the Nativity Scene?

If you're someone who enjoys both the holiday spirit and the religious aspect of Christmas, then a nativity scene is most likely in your house each year. The word "nativity" comes from the Latin word natal, meaning birth. The nativity scene displays the major figures from the birth of Jesus. Nowadays, nativity scenes vary in designs and styles with some featuring just the Holy family while others display an entire display with the shepherds, wise men, animals, and angels. To truly capture the birth of Jesus, these nativity scenes are often portrayed in replica stables.

In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi created the first ever recorded nativity scene using live actors. The church loved it and began to spread from that time on. To this day, we continue to see live nativity scenes, especially at church events around Christmas time.

As nativity scenes became more popular, so did statues. They are now the most common way we display our nativity scenes. They come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, from children's figurines to tell a story to life-sized, ornately constructed and painted figures to place in an outdoor setting.