An art that is slow, patient and passionate. Each year, the crib is born and lasts for over two months. In following this tradition, the family acquires new strength.
At the beginning of November, one removes mysterious cardboard boxes from the cupboards. The eyes of the children light up. Let the festivities begin! One aligns the Santons, the accessories, the vegetation and buildings. One draws up plans, designs extensions and innovations. The slow and meticulous work begins: the purchase of new Santons, the seeking of the most attractive scenery, walks in the country with grandfather for picking moss, leaves, and small wood chips. Over a few weeks, the crib is set up. Each day, one moves the Santons in order to show them in their best light to suggest an authentic scene. Finally, Christmas Eve arrives. The Family supper, the reunion, time suspended. At midnight, little Baby Jesus is delicately laid between the ox and the grey ass by the hands of children feeling moved: the crib comes alive. It will stay in the household until the Epiphany. Day after day, The Wise Kings will advance out of the remote hills in the direction of the Child-King.
The crib will then be disposed of, and go back into the cupboards: a long period of sleep will follow until its rebirth, long awaited, at the time of the following Christmas. The crib of Provence is the fruit of a special journey, a meeting of the layman with the churchman over time. First there were the cribs, then mechanical cribs to be later replaced by talking cribs, interpreted by puppets. Little by little, the puppets themselves represented the villagers themselves. It was the time of the "Pastorales".
The art of the Santon craftsman took over these characters and inserted these coloured clay statuettes into the crib, which has once again become mute... well at least... seemingly...