Christmas is approaching..the lights, crisp air, shop windows are the definite signs and being a Christmas lover the sensation is quite inebriating as it always fills me with a feeling of warmth and elation, beating recession, cold and all, and bringing back lots of happy childhood memories.
Putting up the Christmas decorations was no easy task, I remember my grandfather standing on a ladder whilst struggling with drawing pins on the ceiling and later the inevitable collapse of one of the garlands. Thus out came the ladder again..Eventually though the house was transformed and a joy to look at.
Another moment of fun was the Christmas crib, my brother and I would choose the positioning of the shepherds amongst some very old miniatures which included noseless angels and different sized animals .
Cribs are a source of fascination, I love the miniatures and the ingeniousness of their settings; moss, cotton wool, talcum powder, mirrors, aluminium, matchboxes, shoe-boxes all assume a different meaning.
I have a friend who fills an entire room with a state of the art nativity set equipped with a stream of actual running water and moving figures! So I thoroughly enjoy going to see nativity cribs which are quite a speciality in Sardinia, here there is an assortment to go and visit, from live ones with real people to some genuine artistic treasures with beautiful miniatures in a variety of different materials, ranging from hand painted wood to cork, porcelain and bread dough!
For example, in Gergei, a small town near Cagliari, the “Sa Nascimenta”, is organized. This is a living and itinerant Christmas nativity in which on Christmas Eve, a hundred ”actors” or so put on old costumes and relive the Christmas events alongside their spectators.
Alleyways, cobbled streets, barns and stables of the city centre all come alive with the event, complete with the aroma of roasted chestnuts and of the hot dishes served to the wayfarers. The itinerant nativity enacts the journey of the holy couple, their passage brings the village inhabitants to life who show the various ancient crafts and portray scenes from every-day life.
From mid December to the first week of January, in Olmedo, another small town in the north west of the Island, located between Alghero, Porto Torres and Sassari, there is a very particular nativity set made with bread dough, created by artisans in the magical context of the Church of N.S. Talia, a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture of the XIIth century.
Simple ingredients and extraordinary ability allow the creation of this real work of art. You can see ladies hanging out the washing, every detail from their clothes to the trees holding the washing line is made in bread dough! Some of the houses are faithful reproductions of real houses in the main square. Beautiful and quite extraordinary.
Comune di Olmedo – Piazza Nostra Signora di Talia – 07040 Olmedo (SS)
Tel. 079 901900 – Fax 079 9019008
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