The South Tyrolean families celebrate every year an ancient Christmas custom. At Christmas Eve – the children had long ago send their gift-wishes to Christ Child by letter – the whole family get the crib from cellar or garret and begin to arrange the ancient masterpiece.
Most of all South Tyrolean cribs are handmade and bequeath from one generation to the other. Sometimes they are such big, that half of the snuggery is completed. Other cribs are pretty small and the kids can re-create the nativity story in a not always original way.
All together they have really rural South Tyrolean scenery: ox and donkey are standing behind Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the cot which is connect at the farmer’s house. The windows are decorated with red-white plaid curtains and the farmers are dressed with knickerbockers and blue aprons and the farmer’s wife have a coloured bandana and typical aprons, too.
In bigger cribs are shown real landscapes: mini castles and mountains, small cities and farmer’s houses, artisans and farmers, sheep, cows and donkey and - needless to say - Josef and Mary as farmers with the little Christ Child. The cribs from South Tyrol are pieces of art; thousands of working-hours are behind them.
Who wants to see the big variety of South Tyrolean cribs should visit the crib-museum "Maranatha" in Luttach in Tauferer Ahrntal.