Christmas celebrations are never complete without a Christmas crib. Also referred to as Nativity Scene or Manger Scene, Christmas crib represents how Jesus was born. Christmas crib exhibits figures that represent infant Jesus, his mother, Mary, and her husband Joseph. There are various other characters that are part of the Christmas crib. These characters include shepherds, sheep and angels. As described in the ‘Gospel of Luke’, all these characters are displayed near the manger in a barn (or cave) which is projected to accommodate farm animals. A donkey and an ox are also a part of this scene and Magi and their camels are also included. These characters are described in the ‘Gospel of Matthew’. However, there are various cultures which add characters that may or may not be Biblical.
The celebration for Christmas is on and as a Mumbaikar I enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere here. In the past, I was able to make my presence felt on the eve of Christmas by making an extensive coverage of the events before and after the festival. I was very much impressed by crib set up in Sanpada Jubilee Church and I was able to get a close look and take a snap for posting in facebook and for sending it to some news dailies across the country. One of the newspaper in Pune selected my photo of the crib as one of the best and I feel proud to be an Indian. I always believe and work for unity in diversity of the country and participated in the memorable events of last year’s Christmas and working for doing an exclusive coverage this year also in a big way.
Putting up the crib is the most exciting aspect of Christmas. As children we would use all our creativity and imagination to depict Christ’s birth. Even today 12 days before the festival we sow grains like ragi and wheat which would grow into tiny crops that are then used to decorate the crib. To make mountains we would like to use brown paper and dry hay to make the set look like a stable. Once the crib is set we light ‘kuthu vilakku’ instead of candles on Christmas Day. Our parents always made sure that we used less paper to decorate the crib and encouraged us to use fresh flowers instead.
It’s a family tradition to put up the crib together. Each year I used to bring down the box that has all the decorations and my grandson takes keen interest to decorate and bring out the best in Christmas tree and this year he plans to make a crib. The tree is where we try and experiment more and use newer ornaments and serial light and complete with most attractive decorations collected and purchased for the very purpose. The crib building is a creative activity and you can keep in mind the history and bring out the best with your imagination.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)