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    The nativity figurines – history and meaning – Jesus – Mary and Joseph

    Any nativity scene may consist simply of the following figurines jointly with ox and donkey placed in a stable; it’s the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph who are the core of the nativity scene, the focus point from which the global scene may be built.

    The stable and these three figurines are the very deep sense that the nativity scene wants to onward ourselves; this, specifically for our own way as well, same like the shepherds and the Magi Kings did, while moving towards that family of Nazareth. A representation that Pope Francis interpreted in his apostolic exhortation “Admirabile Signum” of the meaning and value of the crib as an “admirable sign”.

    Mary - nativity figurines - History and meaning - wooden cribs


    A mother leaning towards her child, an everyday scene that inspires tenderness and joy even in any driest heart. While Mary received Archangel Gabriel’s announcement, she was touched by apprehension, nevertheless with great faith. These feelings are underlined by very fine lines and painting of the wood art. The colors that most emphasize the figure of Our Lady range from light blue to blue, sometimes mixed with white as well; this to remark the purity and majesty of the Virgin Mary.

    Mary stands to Jesus’ right hand, “to the right of the king”, as consistent with Jewish tradition of placing the Queen-Mother on the right. Often represented in adoration or with open arms, as if to announce the birth of her son to our world.


    A mature man who protects his family and exhorts ourselves to seek and follow the will of God being totally confident. Joseph is represented holding a stick that later became the bishops’ crosier. He is sometimes described as holding a lantern to enlighten the world through the birth of Jesus. A man who always carried in his heart the great mystery surrounding Jesus and his wife Mary. He is the keeper of the family and never shies away from protecting them. He will escape Herod’s danger by fleeing to Egypt. Returning to Nazareth, there he’ll be the first educator of Jesus child and adolescent.

    Tradition claims that wood artists shall represent Joseph with beard and mature age to emphasize his wisdom. The painting colors go from yellow to brown tones to highlight his origin as an handcrafter, thus as the carpenter master.

    Joseph - nativity figurines - History and meaning - wooden cribs
    Jesus - nativity figurines - history and meaning - wooden cribs


    God is revealed in a child laying in his mother’s arms in a stable’s manger, in Latin named “Praesepium”. The Nativity scene tells and shows us the specific moment when God was born, this with visible astonishment in the eyes of his parents Mary and Joseph, same like by any and all parents.

    According to tradition, the figurine of the Jesus child shall be brought in on the night of December 24th to 25th, the night of Christmas Eve. Jesus shall always be the center of the Nativity scene and all the figurines are spread around him. Eventually, if the Holy Family won’t be placed right in the center of the crib, then nevertheless, any and all figurines shall be directed on their moving towards Jesus’ manger.


    The Holy Family was one of the first wooden creations by Val Gardena’s sculptors in the 17th century. During the cold winter months, the families of this valley have consistently refined the state of the art, up to the present time; the latter tradition of wood carving is renown in all the world. Over years, several nativity scene figurines were add to the Holy Family, as well as farm animals and a selection of stables made of natur materials from local mountain forests. In her showroom, Sonia offers a wide range of wooden Christmas nativity scenes. Multiple art-styles and studies applied to traditional cribs expect to match any art pleasure of families and collectors enjoying the beauty of this handcrafted wood sculptures.

    Visit the selections of wooden indoor nativity scenes of Val Gardena