The characters of the Neapolitan nativity scene

The crib is a custom of the Neapolitan popular tradition.  The first crib dated back to the year 1025, but the Neapolitan popular tradition has taken hold since the '600. It is not only a religious emblem but also an exaltation of Neapolitan manual art for several centuries. Loved by all, the Neapolitan crib is the mixture between religious and pagan, between sacred and secular.

The crib symbolizes the Christian scene of the Nativity with the baby Jesus in the manger, the Madonna, St. Joseph, the donkey and the ox: the most classical of representations.

Among all the iconic characters of the crib, the most represented is Mary, mother of Jesus. In the crib the Madonna is in the manger, represented as a cave, next to baby Jesus. Often kneeling with joined hands, but also facing upwards. She is often portrayed very young and is dressed in delicate colors such as white, blue and sky blue symbols of purity.

In the video, one of the nineteenth-century representations of the Madonna, discover how crib art is born.

"Another entertainment that is characteristic of the Neapolitans, the crib [...]; a light, hut-shaped stage is built, all adorned with trees and ever-green trees; and there we put the Madonna, the child Jesus ".
J.W. Goethe