Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Provence Santons

Musee des Santons-Enchanted France

Musée des Santons- Enchanted France
Li Calendo is the month long Christmas festival in Provence.    It starts on the Feast of Saint Barbe, December 4 and lasts to Epiphany, January 6.  One of the beloved traditions of Christmas in Provence is the setting of nativity scenes filled with the usual nativity characters along with santons.  These exquisite hand-crafted little clay figurines represent characters of the local village life-- the shepherd, the baker, the peddler, the farmer, the postman, etc.. 

 It is believed that the first clay santons were created in Marseille by sculptor Jean Louis Lagnel in 1797 during the French Revolution when churches were closed depriving the population of religious symbols like nativity scenes.  Lagnel, molded using local clay from Aubagne, little figurines representing various village characters which people took home to set up their own creches alongside the nativity figures.  Santons became a cherished Provencal Christmas tradition ever since and Santons making a family craft passed on from one generation to the next.  To learn more about Santons, visit le Musee des Santons in Les Baux de Provence.  Bon Nouvè ! Joyeux Noel!

Musee des Santons- Enchanted France

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#Provence #NoelProvence #France #Santons

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