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Biggest nativity scene in Catalonia revealed to public

The traditional display measures 230 metres, and includes a scale model of Montserrat mountain

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18 December 2017 02:17 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The pessebre, or nativity scene, plays a central part in the Christmas of many Catalans . On Sunday, the biggest nativity scene in the whole country was revealed to the public, even including a replication of the symbolic mountain Montserrat, about half an hour by train from Barcelona.

Created by the Pessebrista Group of Parets del Vallès, a group dedicated to creating the traditional religious display from a town to the north of Barcelona, it measures a total of 230 metres and took more than 8 months to complete.

According to the president of the group, Albert Pérez, the biggest difficulty was recreating a scale model of Montserrat, a mountain not far from the capital made up of surreal ancient rock formations and home to a monastery.

Apart from the mountainous centrepiece, the scene includes all the traditional protagonists in the story of the birth of Jesus, as well as the Catalan classic: el caganer, the peasant figure responding to nature’s call outside of the barn where the baby was born.

Scale models of the Catalan towns Monistrol, Collbató and El Bruc, near the mountain, can also be seen. “Because they were identifiable we have built the churches of these locations as they are currently,” Pérez said.

One notable aspect of the nativity scene is its setting in history. Its creators chose to base it between the 1940´s to 1960´s.

“It was the moment when we moved on from the wagon to the car, and we wanted to reflect this change,” Pérez said, also highlighting the importance of not forgetting the traditional characters such as the shepherds, the three kings, the baby Jesus and, of course, el caganer.

"We wanted older people to come see familiar things they experienced in their youth or childhood," he went on to say.

The nativity scene group has been in action for 31 years, and has held the record for the largest one ever made in Catalonia since 1995. 

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  • A detail with a house and characters from the Parets del Vallès nativity scene on December 16 2017 (by Norma Vidal)