The tradition continues

 by Cinzia Faldrini

Since then, the living nativity scene has changed its setting, scenes and comments every year, yet it retains a very important religious message.

I would like to briefly mention all of them:

in 1992, it depicted the scene of the census, where a Roman soldier read the notice of the census and then mounted his horse and rushed off in front of the public, until he reached the temple (also carefully reconstructed).

In 1993, the meadows of Vetto were enhanced by the arrival of all the peoples of the world (groups of people wearing traditional costumes: Africans, Indians, white people..., who were going to the grotto to see the child).

In 1994, the living nativity scene was set up inside the district: throughout the hamlet you could admire the inhabitants in the oldest houses, intent on traditional crafts, until you came to a stable with the holy family. Here too, a religious commentary accompanied the visitor.

In later years, the scene of the holy family in the hut was always preceded by the representation of passages from the Gospel, which preceded the birth of Jesus or which occurred immediately afterwards: Maria's visit to Saint Elisabetha (1995), the wedding of Mary and Joseph (1996), the presentation of Jesus at the temple (1997), Joseph's dream, where the angel encourages him to take Mary as his wife (1998: this scene also included the adoration of people from all over the world).

In the Jubilee Year (nativity scene 1999/2000) the exodus was successfully represented. It was impressive to see a large crowd of people, guided by Moses (played, as usual, by Fermo Rossi, who always plays a major part) coming towards the public from behind the dunes of the meadows of Vetto holding torches and various tools and then continued back in the opposite direction. The main message of this nativity scene was that of Pope John Paul II:

Do not fear...

A sensational scenic effect was obtained by the nativity scene of 2000/2001, in which an enormous bridge was built over the hut to signify the extent to which Jesus could act as a meeting point between so many peoples. In fact, the features of the actors's faces passing over the bridge recalled all the races of the world.

The protagonists of the living nativity scene 2001/2002 were just young children. Even Mary and Jsoseph were children (Sonia Bardea and Luca Rossi with little Alfredo Nana as Jesus).

In 2002/2003, the visitor was able to follow the movements of a boy at the time of. Jesus who observed the scene from the outside and described it. He had found out about the Good News and was anxiously waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Thus, he accompanied the visitor to carefully watch the scenes, from Mary's "I will" right up to the adoration by the shepherds.

The nativity scene of 2003/2004 began with a scene with Adam and Eve, represented with Chinese Shadows: the movements of Adam and Eve could be seen from behind a gigantic cloth of the original sin. The commentary began: “God had a dream. He dreamt of the creation. And he made it. He created the sky and the earth (....) but there was something missing from his dream. Then he dreamt of man and he created him in his own image and likeness. He created man and woman.
However, man marred the image God had made of him (…), he separated from his origins. He did not live before God, but hid from his eyes (…). He closed the doors of his heart and did not allow God to enter (…).
Then God had another dream. He dreamt how he had actually conceived man. And began once more to start his dream afresh.” From hence came the good news and the representation of the nativity.

The 2004/2005 nativity scene saw one of the main characters, Abraham, to whom the Lord promised a son and as many descendants as the stars in the heavens above.

In 2005, a majestic castle was built to represent Jerusalem, in which the numerous populations congregated for the census.

In 2006/2007, we wanted to make it more up-to-date and show how God is born every day through the service and testimony of people, such as Mother Theresa of Calcutta, the Comboni Missionaries and the volunteers of the Mato Grosso Operation, all on stage as they carried out their work.

From 2008, new scenes were introduced: scenes of Jesus' adult life, which reinforced the Christian message, beginning with the birth of Jesus.

The nativity scene of 2008/2009 presented some scenes which told of the different ways in which Jesus has appeared to mankind: after his birth in the stable in Bethlehem, Jesus showed himself by the visit of the three Kings, via his baptism in the River Jordan (“This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”) and in the wedding feast in Cana where he began his miracles.

It was the nativity scene of 2008/2009, which was the most "shocking", in the sense that it upset even further the traditional storylines of the classical nativity. In fact, some milestones in the life of Jesus were re-enacted: from the Presentation at the Temple, to the twelve-year old Jesus in the midst of the doctors of law, and then to the life of Jesus in Nazareth as "he grew in wisdom, age and grace". Returning to the stable in Bethlehem, this nativity scene wanted to analyse the Mystery of his birth by means of a project to save mankind. Thus, we went from the cross (nothing short of!), at the feet of which they found Mary, to move on to the Resurrection (a white cloth over the cross was dragged quickly away) and on to the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles gathered at the Last Supper.

The scenography of the nativity scene in 2009/2010 was enhanced by a boat (in the middle of the snow!): this was Peter's boat, shown here as the first Pope who went to adore Jesus with all the other Apostles (after the Last Supper). This was actually the year dedicated to the priesthood.

Another majestic scene of the exodus was performed in 2010/2011, whereas the nativity of 2011/2012 included Adam and Eve in "flesh and blood" amongst the protagonists, who were tempted by the devil and chose to leave God. Immediately, a sweet young girl (Mary) crushes the head of the serpent to enable God to save mankind. The scenography for this nativity featured the hay barns for the first time.

This year's most recent nativity scene for 2012/2013 saw the construction of straw huts, certainly much warmer and better lit than those of hay. The theme was faith in the year nominated by the Pope as the Year of Faith.
It saw Abraham, father of us all according to the Christian faith, who obeyed the Lord and trusted him to the point he agreed to sacrifice his only son Isaac. There was Joseph obeying the angel's invitation and it also included some characters from the Gospel, who testify their faith, such as the woman suffering from haemorrhages, healed by Jesus just by touching his cloak to show her faith, and Jairus, whose daughter dies but, thanks to the man's faith, is resurrected by Jesus. An unusual scene in this nativity was the appearance of a multitude of anegls (as many as 50!). The nativity committee this year wanted to involve even more people, and so it asked each hamlet to “offer” 10 volunteers to take part as angels (10X5=50).
And so it was: every hamlet showed willing and made its own costumes, thanks to some precious dressmakers.

This is what makes the living nativity scene in Lanzada stand out: the team spirit and desire to work for the common good and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ!