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Santons and Nativity cribs

The santons (ornamental figures in a Christmas crib) wake up from their year-long sleep and take their place again on the decorated sideboard or table. Everyone helps set up the crib – a custom that goes back to St Francis of Assisi – and it will not be put away until Candlemas: a bridge here, a house there, brought to life by the colourful little ‘santons’. There is the nativity scene - except for the infant Jesus. There are personages, too: ‘Lou Ravi’, raising his arms to the sky in admiration, Mireille and Vincent, Lou Pistachié, who leads his donkey loaded with corn, Bartomio –the incorrigible drunk who offers Jesus a dried cod, the fisherman, the drummer and the angel Boufarrèu - with his trumpet - who announces the coming of the infant Jesus...

Tradition has it that one adds a new ‘santon’ to the crib each year.