Amanda Bennett: A Year in Zaragoza, Spain

Feliz Navidad! December 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — psychohistoria @ 11:47 am

During a Sunday walk on a crisp fall day. The Stone Bridge (Puente de Piedra) over the Río Ebro and the Basilica del Pilar are in the background.

  • 1.325 m3 de soil
  • 800 m2 of soil for plants
  • 300 m2 of lawn
  • 10m3 river rock to decorate
  • 500 m2 of flat stone for walkways and floors of scenery
  • 8 m3 of gravel for the stream
  • 30 m3 of sand
  • 150 m2 of water

What does it all add up to? Well, throw in a few lifesize statues and model buildings and you have Zaragoza’s Belén (Nativity scene). Located right in front of the Basilica del Pilar, in the main plaza of the city, is a walk-through recreation of Bethlehem.

For some background, the Belén (which is "Bethlehem" in Spanish) has a few tents with common people eating, selling their wares, or working their fields.

After passing a water wheel and a little pond, one comes across the angel Gabriel telling a shocked Mary of her immaculate pregnancy.

And after the three Reyes Magos (kings) on camels carried gifts to the newborn child, we come to the humble manger, site of the birth of Jesus, complete with farm animals, Mary again, and the "father" Joseph.

Here we have a band that was wandering around playing some lovely festive music. Behind them is a craft-fair type market set up in the other half of the plaza.

This is how the city celebrates Christmas. When I think about the controversy sparked by a small nativity scene on a town hall lawn in the US, I can’t imagine that Zaragoza has spent a montón of money on a 2,400 square meter belén. Insanity – but lots of fun for the children.

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