• marian library creche collection at university of dayton

    University of Dayton’s Unparalleled Creche Collection

    For three decades, the University of Dayton’s Marian Library has featured a collection of nativity sets from around the world. Today it is one of the largest – if not the largest – nativity collections in the United States. Ranging from hand-made paper sets from Germany circa 1862 to the recent Hipster Nativity Set, which

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  • Saint Nicholas on jetty in Denmark during summer

    Summer Santa: Celebrating Christmas in July

    In the middle of a hot summer in America, the thought of Christmas in July can sound refreshing in terms of both the snowy weather and the cheerfulness of shopping for and receiving gifts that of conjures up in our minds. In the Southern Hemisphere, particularly in Australia, December 25 is a date that falls

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  • Nativity scene exhibition in Europe

    Creche Traditions in Europe: A History

    The nativity scenes we know and recognize today have their roots in centuries of European traditions dating back to the 12th century. These early nativity scenes were usually made of terra cotta and were displayed year round in churches in the 1300s. Historians believe that around the year 1289, artist Arnolfo di Cambio carved one

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  • How Nativity Scene Traditions Developed in America

    American crèche traditions started in the 18th century with a small group of Protestant immigrants who brought their Christmas customs to their new homeland in the New World. The United Brethren from Herrnhut, commonly called the Moravians, was founded in Bohemia during the 15th century (in what is now the Czech Republic). On Christmas Eve

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  • Detail of colorful terra cotta nativity from Mexico

    How Nativity Scenes Reflect Local Cultures

    In a moving testimony to the power of faith and to the promise of Christmas, nativity scenes are a holiday tradition all over the world. While their basic elements – the Holy Family, animals, shepherds, and the Magi – are similar, their designs and materials vary dramatically. In fact, nativity sets can even be collectible pieces

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  • Nativity scene with Christ child in manger

    Traditions for Placing Jesus and the Magi in Nativities

    One of the most meaningful aspects of setting up a nativity scene inside or outside your home is the opportunity it offers for establishing traditions. Depending on where they grew up and how they were raised, many families have specific customs concerning the setup and the placement of their crèche. Some of these traditions surround

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