Vatican Nativity Crèche Inspired by Peru’s Andean Region

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Currents News Staff

The Nativity Scene adorning St. Peter’s Square this Christmas is from the Huancavelica region in the Peruvian Andes.

“Here we have the Chopcca Nativity scene. It commemorates the bi-centennial of Peru’s independence,” said artist Macisete Alejandro Díaz Abad.

The 35 life-size statues representing the Chopcca people of Huancavelica were made by a team of artists from the same region.

“The project was completed with a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm, to present this Nativity scene to the world, showing all the characteristics of towns in the Andes, in this case those in Huancavelica,” said Manuel Breña Martínez. “My fellow Peruvians and artist friends are able to communicate their feelings, their love for their land.”

The bright outfits worn by the statues are like those made by the Chopcca people, who are known for their colorful textiles. The Nativity scene also includes plants and animals typically found in the Andes and the stone houses and bridges are like those commonly seen Huancavelica’s towns. The work is a snapshot of the cultural wealth of Peru, and an expression of the people’s piety.

“It expresses the faith of the Chopcca people,” said Huancavelica’s Bishop Carlos Salcedo Ojeda. “It communicates the strength which comes from Jesus, to live as a community, in solidarity, and to continue to build the aspect of ‘we.’ Not individualism nor isolation, but community.”

This is the first time the Vatican chooses a Nativity scene from the Americas. The Christmas tree is a 90-foot tall red spruce from Andalo, in Italy’s northern Trentino region.

“All the spheres you see on the tree were handmade by 40 volunteers,” said artist Alberto Perli. “There are 600 handmade spheres, which will later be donated to an association for parents of children with cancer.”

The Nativity scene and Christmas tree will adorn St. Peter’s Square until January 9, 2022.