Very different from the little displays of my childhood which contained the manger, the infant, Mary, Joseph and a sheep or two. If you had a really lavish production, there was an angel as well.
Nothing like these captivating scenes.
This blue toned display is set in a cluster of Sicilian homes, in a village with a gate. Housewives are shopping at a frutta e verdura stand in the street and one lady is lowering a basket for her purchases. Children play, a donkey pulls firewood and, yes, people are eating. See what else you can make out in there and while you’re about it, find the holy family.
In Sicily I’m reminded of a childhood wonder. When I was a little girl, one of the great adventures of Christmas was going into town to see Myers’ windows in Melbourne.
There was a dedicated floor where you could have a chat (and a photo) with Father Christmas and, best of all, a Lilliputian land. A compelling, spell-binding animated display of little figures which went about some activity or other, all related, and all simply wondrous.
I loved it! What was it called? Toyland?
All of the little shop windows have their own version of my ‘Toyland’.
Have a look at the little figures. The scenery is typically Sicilian and you can see the traditional costumes of the people and the shepherds playing the bagpipe.
In Italy a bagpipe is a zampogna and the piper is a zampognaro.
Most of the remaining pipers of Sicily work in the Etna region and, from about late November, they appear in the streets all over the island, piping their ancient music.
People are eating. See the food preparation and the guests around the table? Is that a basket maker in there? Look at the washing at the window!
The Sicilians tell me that these Nativity Scenes were the inspiration of the little poor man of Assisi, Francis, the patron saint of animals.
All I can say is thanks.
Grazie San Francesco, grazie a voi!