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Nativity scene

Click on any figure to see a description of Christmas character

The three wise men

The figures of the Magi, who came to worship the Savior and brought Him gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). Although, according to the Gospel, the Magi came to the house, not to the cave (Matthew 2:11), they are often presented as a part of the nativity scene.
The Holy Family

Three-dimensional figures of the Holy Child Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the righteous Joseph. The Christ Child is presented lying in the manger or in the arms of the seated Mother of God. Sometimes all the figures of the Holy Family are replaced by the icon of the Nativity.
The angel

The angel announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds.
The ox and the donkey

The figures of the animals that, according to the Sacred tradition, were in the cave at the time of the Savior's birth, and then warmed Him with their breath.
The Star of Bethlehem

Celestial phenomenon, so called by the Magi, according to the Gospel of Matthew. When they saw it at sunrise and decided that the "king of the Jews" had been born, they came to Jerusalem to worship Him. They did not find what they were looking for and went to Bethlehem of Judea, where the star showed them the place where they saw the Holy Family.
The shepherds with the sheep

The figures of those shepherds who came to the cave to worship the Savior. Typically, one of the shepherds is depicted with a lamb on his shoulders or in his arms. The lamb in this case is a symbol of Christ as the Lamb of God.
The angel

The angel announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds.
Artists: Sergey and Tatiana Krylovs, Palekh
Artists: Sergey and Tatiana Krylovs, Palekh
1
The three wise men

The figures of the Magi, who came to worship the Savior and brought Him gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). Although, according to the Gospel, the Magi came to the house, not to the cave (Matthew 2:11), they are often presented as a part of the nativity scene.
3
The Holy Family

Three-dimensional figures of the Holy Child Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the righteous Joseph. The Christ Child is presented lying in the manger or in the arms of the seated Mother of God. Sometimes all the figures of the Holy Family are replaced by the icon of the Nativity.
6
The angel

The angel announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds.
2
The ox and the donkey

The figures of the animals that, according to the Sacred tradition, were in the cave at the time of the Savior's birth, and then warmed Him with their breath.
4
The angel

The angel announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds.
5
The Star of Bethlehem

Celestial phenomenon, so called by the Magi, according to the Gospel of Matthew. When they saw it at sunrise and decided that the "king of the Jews" had been born, they came to Jerusalem to worship Him. They did not find what they were looking for and went to Bethlehem of Judea, where the star showed them the place where they saw the Holy Family.
7
The shepherds with the sheep

The figures of those shepherds who came to the cave to worship the Savior. Typically, one of the shepherds is depicted with a lamb on his shoulders or in his arms. The lamb in this case is a symbol of Christ as the Lamb of God.
The lower part ("earth" or "palace") was covered with bright colored paper or foil. In the middle, at a low elevation, a "throne" was placed, with a doll representing King Herod. At the bottom of the box there were slits where a puppeteer moved the rods with puppets. The dolls were usually carved from wood, occasionally molded from clay, painted, and dressed in tissue or paper clothes.
In Russia, nativity scene often resembled not a cave, but a chapel, embodying the Church of Christ. Children used to sing religious songs while walking with such a nativity scene. At times, nativity scenes were placed in the middle of a church, decorated with flowers and pine branches, and an icon of the Nativity was placed inside.
The roof of the house was always decorated with the Star of Bethlehem, which proclaimed the birth of the Savior to the world.
Nativity scene is a birth of Jesus' reproduction by means of a puppet theater. It was a portable box made of thin boards and cardboard. It resembled a tiny house, consisting of one or two floors.
The upper part was designed for playing religious dramas, and the lower part — for playing comic sketches. The upper part ("sky") was covered with blue paper. On its back wall there was a cave and the figures of Mary, Joseph, the Christ Child, and stable animals.
The main characters of the nativity scene:
The angel announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds.
The three wise men are the figures of the Magi, who came to worship the Savior and brought Him gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). Although, according to the Gospel, the Magi came to the house, not to the cave (Matthew 2:11), they are often presented as a part of the nativity scene.
The Holy Family are three-dimensional figures of the Holy Child Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the righteous Joseph. The Christ Child is presented lying in the manger or in the arms of the seated Mother of God. Sometimes all the figures of the Holy Family are replaced by the icon of the Nativity.
The ox and the donkey are the figures of the animals that, according to the Sacred tradition, were in the cave at the time of the Savior's birth, and then warmed Him with their breath.
The Star of Bethlehem is a celestial phenomenon, so called by the Magi, according to the Gospel of Matthew. When they saw it at sunrise and decided that the "king of the Jews" had been born, they came to Jerusalem to worship Him. They did not find what they were looking for and went to Bethlehem of Judea, where the star showed them the place where they saw the Holy Family.
Depending on the scale and narrative content of a nativity scene, regional traditions and its author’s imagination, the composition of the nativity scene may include other characters, such as King Herod, Rachel, soldiers, servants of the Magi (sometimes dozens of figures), their camels, horses and even elephants, numerous Judean residents, various animals and birds, and even characters from local life and folklore.
The shepherds with the sheep are the figures of those shepherds who came to the cave to worship the Savior. Typically, one of the shepherds is depicted with a lamb on his shoulders or in his arms. The lamb in this case is a symbol of Christ as the Lamb of God.
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