Provençal Christmas Traditions:
Nativity scenes and figures from Provence
What do the Saint Barbe wheat that is planted on 4th December, the 13 desserts and the Pastorales all have in common? These are all Provençal traditions typical of the Christmas period, which runs from December 4th until Candlemas. Conducive to stories, recipes and other creations passed down from generation to generation, these traditions always bring us warmth in the heart of winter.
The Provencal nativity scene
The nativity scene and its figurines (small Provençal saints) are a strong tradition in Provence. Each year, characters of all sizes enter the stage to tell us about the past lives of our villages, where all trades appear in detail. The miller and his donkey cross paths with the knife-grinder, the drummer, the shepherd and his flock meet the water-carrier, the rag-and-bone man or the chimney sweep etc., in a typical Provençal setting where there are houses and village squares, churches, narrow alleys and fountains surrounded by scrubland, olive groves and lavender.
Alongside the characters of the Nativity, the Provencal figurines also represent the inhabitants of the villages. Dressed in local costume, they illustrate one by one the trades of the era. Like so many meticulously decorated figurines, they make us relive the atmosphere of the hamlets of yesteryear.
It’s worth the detour!
A remarkable nativity scene to discover is the one installed in the Chapelle des Corps Saints in Avignon.
Order your blue nativity figures online!
We were looking for original santons created by artisans in Provence, and we found an artist!
In the beautiful and very small village of Brantes, facing the north side of Ventoux, Véronique Dornier has run, for more than 20 years, her santon workshop “Les santons bleus”. To the ancestral figurines, she added a new family, all dressed in blue. Her specialty is the blue santons! Véronique has reinvented the art of the figurine and the results are stunning. This winter, she set up the practical and safe solution: you can order our santons by mail and Véronique sends them by post throughout France, or even to other places in Europe. Easy-peasy!
It’s worth the detour!
Brantes is a very small village of crafts, goat farming and cheese making.
But many producers of fruits, organic vegetables and lavender can also be found there.
Behind the scenes of the blue Santons
Véronique Dornier opens the doors of her studio. Here’s where the magic happens!
The blue nativity scene reinvented by the artist
Véronique Dornier also makes ceramic santons