"Belén?". Belén (Bethlehem in Spanish) is the Nativity scene and here in Seville it is a huge event! The market in between the Cathedral and the Archivos de Indias is stuffed full of everything needed to make a "Belén" at home. Its 30+ stalls open from November 13 to December 23 sell everything you can imagine to build or add to your own family Nativity scene.
And I do mean, EVERYTHING! From the stables, adobe houses, castles, forts and farms, to grass, trees, flowers and plants. From market scenes of fishmongers, bakers, butchers, grocers with fruit and vegetables to pots and pans, terracotta pots, stones and pebbles, buckets and pails. There are such important decisions to be made and hundreds of people crowd the narrow street to pore over the displays. It's a buzzy atmosphere and it's infectious!
The streets are packed with couples, families, grandparents all sharing the choice of their Nativity.
Once the scene has been chosen then it needs to be filled. What about the figures? Do you go realistic or cartoon, or even mechanical moving, antique colors or vibrant colours and how many wise men and kings bearing offerings? Oh, and then there are the animals, the donkeys, the sheep, the cows, the chickens.
What about everyday items like washing hanging on the line or market stalls selling bread, cakes and pastries, and fabrics. Indeed, do you need candy floss and jars of honey?
Then you need trees, plants, flowers, garden walls and grass, fruit and vegetables,buckets and tools.
It just goes on and on and it's definitely a huge family decision.
I spent a couple of hours observing and photographing families old and young selecting the pieces to start a new Belen or enhance an old one. It was exciting to see the children's faces, the scratching of heads and beards and the chewing of lips in the decision making. I had a lot of fun here!
Who needs a Christmas tree and Santa Claus when you can have a Nativity scene and three Wise Men? I would have been in paradise as a child in Seville. In truth, I was actually completely enchanted by the whole thing right now!!!