The "nativity" that will be installed this year in St. Peter's Square for the Christmas holidays will come from Peru. In particular from the Andes, from the village of Chopcca, a community located within the department of Huancavelica.
The Andean Nativity Scene is intended to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the country's independence and will reproduce a sample of the life of the peoples of those lands, to symbolize the universal call to salvation, "inasmuch as the Son of God became incarnate to save all men and women of the earth, whatever language, people, culture or nation they belong to," reads the statement issued by the Vatican City.
The Nativity Scene, which will be inaugurated in St. Peter's Square on Friday, December 10 at 5:00 p.m., is the result of collaboration between the Episcopal Conference of Peru, the Diocese of Huancavelica, the regional government, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Peru to the Holy See.
The nativity scene statues, including the Three Wise Men and the shepherds, will be life-size; they will be made of ceramic, maguey wood and fiberglass and will be dressed in typical Chopcca costumes. This is a local Quechua-speaking community of just over 10,000 inhabitants, living at an altitude of between 3,680 and 4,500 meters above sea level, in an area crossed by the Qhapaq Ñan, known as the Inca Trail.
It is said that Jesus will have the appearance of a "Hilipuska" child, a name due to the fact that he will be wrapped in a typical Huancavelica blanket. The Three Wise Men will carry saddlebags and sacks with typical food of the area, such as potatoes, quinoa, cañihua, and will be accompanied by llamas, who will carry the Peruvian flag on their backs.
Several animals belonging to the Andean fauna, such as alacas, vicuñas, sheep, vizcachas, parihuanas and the Andean condor, symbol of the country, will also have a place in the nativity scene.
As for the tree that will be installed next to the nativity scene, it will come from Trentino in Italy, specifically from Andalo, in the Dolomites district of Paganella. It will be a fir tree of about 28 meters, supplied by the local Sustainable Forest Management, which will also be in charge of the decorations, which will be made of wood.
In the Paul VI Hall, the venue for Wednesday general audiences, another nativity scene prepared by the young people of the parish of St. Bartholomew the Apostle in Gallio, in the province of Vicenza and diocese of Padua, will be installed. The young people were inspired by a rustic structure in the area, used as a shelter for animals, commonly known as a "stallotto".
On the morning of December 10, the delegations that have worked on the assembly of the nativity scenes and the tree will be received in audience by Pope Francis; the scenes will remain on display until the end of the Christmas season, on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Sunday, January 9, 2022.