The word "santon" means "little saint", and is a provencal word. St Francis of Assisi whose mother was from Provence, organized the first representation of the Nativity with living people 800 years ago. Then, the clay painted santons appeared in the churches.
In France, Revolution closed the churches, and people of Provence, unable to worship in the churches for Christmas made for themselves the SANTONS. They usually are little painted clay figurines, and they represent the people of the villages, and also the ones from the Bible such as Nativity.
The provencal legend says that Jesus was born....in Provence, and then, it is normal for the provencal people to be present in the Nativity scene. And more..., each villager of Provence pretends that Jesus was born in his village. It is the reason why Christmas celebration is so important in Provence.
We guarantee that our santons
are made in Provence by real artisans in their workshop. These
clay figurines belong to Provence, and we do not want to order
them from any other region.
A first sample is sculpted
in a block of clay.
Then, the kiln gradually cools
for another 12 hour period.
A Nativity Scene in Provence
is a charming tradition. Its roots go so deep, back in time
800 years ago, and more vivid than ever now.
After all, they represent not only a religious teaching, the happiness of Jesus birth. But they represent also our grand parents, in their dresses and trades some long ago forgotten.
Your great grand mother was a school teacher? Here she is, with her long skirts and shawl over her shoulder. Tell your children to have a closer look at the gardener with his wheelbarrow, at the blacksmith. Working on his anvil. The shepherds with their flocks of sheep, lambs, ewes.
Then, you would have to display your crèche as we name this scene.
First, organize the setting, on a table or a shelf. Gather some greenery, maybe some sand to place on the path of the santons. A crèche in Provencal family is always a display of a large crowd of santons marching towards the barn where Jesus is born.
In Provence, we put the scene
on display on December 6th, and dismantle it the day after the
Epiphany (January 6th)
To display this march, you should organize a path with all the santons coming, and also all the animals, flocks of sheep of course and any animal you like cats, dogs etc..
There is a tradition in my family
which I used with my children, and I am glad to see that they
go on with theirs. When I was little, I was given one lamb, representing
me. On December 6, it was placed far from the crèche.
And every night, at bed time, my mother or father asked me if
I had been a good child all day Of course I suppose I always
said yes, if it was true, my lamb went ahead a little bit closer,
but if it was not, it reared back a little bit. The game was
that my lamb must be at the foot of Jesus' crib on Christmas
day, and allowing me to have my presents. And of course, it never
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