Friday, November 18, 2016

Creches of Germany: Tradition of Faith Exhibit

The Knights of Columbus Museum’s 12th annual Christmas exhibition, Crèches of Germany: Tradition & Faith, opens November 19, 2016, and continues until January 29, 2017.

As in the past, many of the objects on display hail from the internationally renowned Museo del Presepio of Rome, Italian Friends of the Crèche Association and the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

Although its German origins are uncertain, the crèche or Nativity scene presumably was introduced by Franciscan friars. The oldest recorded German crèche was housed in the Monastery of Füssen in Bavaria and dates to 1252, shortly after the arrival of the followers of St. Francis, the “poor man of Assisi,” who developed the custom of a Nativity scene some 30 years earlier.
From the 16th century on, the Society of Jesus (or Jesuits) is credited with spreading the tradition of the Nativity scene. Records from this period reveal that German monasteries, abbeys and churches added elaborate Nativity. In response to increasing requests for crèche accessories, markets known as Christkindlesmärkte (Christ Child Markets) began to flourish in cities such as Munich and Nuremberg.

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