The Biblical Bethlehem of Santa Angela, a "history book" of 20,000 pieces



Some 20,000 pieces and seventeen biblical scenes on 450 square meters make up the Biblical and Monumental Bethlehem of Santa Ángela de Jerez de los Caballeros (Badajoz), which presumes to be the largest in the world and unites "the culture and tradition of the crib" with its historical slope.

This is how the "differentiating character" of this nativity scene is defended by Juan Izaguirre, spokesman for the Association of the Biblical and Monumental Bethlehem of Santa Angela, of which some thirty people are part, and which explains to Efe that in addition to respecting the biblical scenes, a geographical travel through the places where the events occurred.

For this, details are gathered of how it was supposed to be the daily life of that time, people who worked in their daily occupations and jobs while events occurred "to which the majority of the population was alien".

It is intended that the visitor can see this biblical nativity scene "like a history book", since "it is Christianity, but also culture and art", with which to reflect the different traditions and customs in each of the towns.

Thus, one can contemplate the Hebrew part, with Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Nazareth, with fountains, surrounded by female figures (since it was one of the few places they could go without male accompaniment), and with a humbler lifestyle , with livestock as the main resource.

On the other hand is the Egyptian civilization, exponent of more opulence and wealth, whose tables are not lacking products such as lobsters and seafood, or the port of Alexandria, with its large ships and constant transfer of merchandise, which gives an idea of ​​its commercial power.

For Juan Izaguirre, although it is difficult to highlight a scene in a nativity scene of these dimensions, he is personally struck by the betrothal of Mary and Joseph, in which he has opted to recreate a Jewish wedding so that the visitor can contemplate how, according to historians, these events developed.

However, this nativity scene can not forget our tradition and customs and there is no lack of "winks" to adapt it, like the scene of the slaughter of the lamb, which is represented in the style of the Extremadura killing of the pig, in which the traditional crumbs

All the constructions are made of traditional wood, trying to be the most faithful to the time, but it highlights elements and pieces made with porcelain paste and painted by hand, such as almond flowers, crochet carpets, tables and feeders, carved floors, palm leaves.

The entrance to the nativity scene, whose assembly begins in August, although in February and possible changes are addressed and new additions, is free, but visitors can provide donations for projects of social interest.

Last year more than 35,000 people visited the nativity scene, which will be open until next January 7, and which are not only neighbors of the towns of the region, but also come from other bordering provinces, such as the Andalusians of Seville, Cordoba or Huelva, and even Italian tourists.

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