Une crèche is literally a manger where animals live, but according to the Bible, it is also the place where the baby Jesus
was born. A traditional crèche represents the manger in Bethlehem where you could find Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds,
the three kings, and the animals that surrounded them. The angel Gabriel is also an important part of the crèche. This is
also called the Nativity Scene.
The Catholic tradition of the crèche started in the 8th century by Saint Francis of Assisi. In 1223, a living
crèche was organized before Christmas mass was celebrated. This tradition was followed in many parts of Europe, but slowly
the living crèches were replaced by figurines.
In parts of France, the traditional Nativity figures are joined by representations of everyone in the village, including
the baker, the butcher, and the farm workers. These figures are called Santons.