Like every year, these days millions of Spanish homes are preparing to set up their own Nativity portal. A tradition that we discussed in a previous article that brings together several generations of the family around the models, figures and material used in the assembly of this endearing Christmas element.

However, not everything that is done with love is free of error and, in this case, how could it be otherwise, we also introduce certain anachronisms and errors when we set up the portal. In certain occasions for lack of historical rigor; others, for trying to bring to "Oriente" customs of our Iberian roots; most, trying to embellish the scene with elements that clash in the eyes of the most fussy. In any case, here we leave some of the things that do not fit in the portal of nativity.


# 1.- The snow of the nativity scene portal.

Bethlehem is located at the same latitude as North Africa and its average altitude is about 765 meters. It has a dry Mediterranean climate. With these premises, we can imagine that the snow in Bethlehem is not exactly an ingrained habit. But, with what we like to make a snowy crib, who will tell this to the children?


# 2.- Churches before Christ.

It is usually a very used element in some nativity scenes, but ... Have you ever stopped to think about how a Catholic church could exist before the birth of Christ? Moreover, how can a Christian cross be placed on them if Jesus has not yet been crucified?

The churches are usually represented in the cribs that mount them by singular buildings of great beauty, but their installation within the portal is a justifiable anachronism only, if possible, from an aesthetic point of view.

Winning photo of the I Photography Award.

Winning photo of the I Photography Award. Author: Antonio Fernández Velasco


# 3.- The animals on the portal.

The ham and the pork sausages are an Iberian delight that we can not forget the Spaniards, but ... the Jews do not eat pork! In the 1st century AD there were no pigs raised in the area of ​​present-day Palestine. The Pentateuch forbids its consumption in his book Leviticus, but also prohibits touching them, so their breeding was more than unlikely.

In the same way, the cows that we usually put on the portal are European, fat and dairy breeds. At the time of Christ's birth, the cows that could swarm through the portal would be of Arab race, skinny and of little milk. Yes, pigs and cows are very cute in our portal. A curious way to westernize our manger.


# 4.- The tomato and the potato.

Unless history has deceived us in that detail, it was the Spaniards who came to American lands and brought products such as cocoa, tomato, potato or corn from that continent. Because, putting any of these elements in your nativity portal is another historical failure, since the Palestinians would not know such food until many centuries after the birth of Christ. Better replace them with cereals such as barley, wheat or oats.


# 5.- Benedict XVI and the Bethlehem portal.

Pope Ratzinger, before his monastic retreat, he left us a book about the life of Jesus of Nazareth where he denied the existence of the ox and the mule, the star of the East and even the origin of the Magi, for whom the Pope himself proposed an Andalusian origin. Already. But ... who dares to take these elements from the portal?


Let us leave aside the theological and scientific studies in the strict sense. Otherwise, what would be of our portal without some of its most significant elements? Prepare the mule, the star, the cows and, if you have them, even the tomatoes, and tell us: How many of these anachronistic elements are there in your portal?



Fecha: 30 / 12 / 2015|Categories: Curiosities|Tags: , , |


  1. VICTORIA DELGADO LOPEZ _ 30/05/2021 at 20:46 - Reply

    Hello, I am new here, I have been making a nativity scene since January 2021 and I see that almost everyone puts a river, but there were no rivers nearby, I would like to put the solomon's pools that were to the left of the nativity scene. about 5 kilometers, or tell me in what other way they had water to live and the cultivation of gardens? Another question, I know there were no tomatoes and cauliflower and corn?
    I have more doubts but for now I leave it at that.
    Thank you very much.

  2. Maria 22/10/2019 at 18:40 - Reply

    Hello. I am surprised by the number of Arab decorations that appear in some nativity scenes. It is true that they are striking and very lucid when they are made by the great nativity scenes that we have, but Islam, with its peculiarities in terms of architecture and clothing, is much later than the birth of Jesus.
    Thanks Drivers!

    • 23/10/2019 at 17:52 - Reply

      Hello Maria. Thank you very much for your comment, we love that you participate in the blog and leave your point of view. It is true what you comment, under the pretext of the decoration or ornament of the portal, numerous aspects are “included” that have nothing to do with the time of Christ.

  3. Eugeni 24/03/2019 at 08:22 - Reply

    Totally agree

  4. ALICIA LESHER 16/05/2016 at 20:21 - Reply

    I am a nativity scene, for many years, there is so much controversy, regarding the nativity scene, for example, I was in Jerusalem and I asked many questions to people who are supposed to have high knowledge of the Birth of Jesus, ask: Jesus was born in a manger, in a cave, in a portal, answer: 100% true science, nobody can say. I think, in my opinion, that making a Nativity scene in your home in any other place can be done either in a cave, portal or Nativity scene, as long as they do not do it in modern houses, which was not what existed at that time. . That is why I do not agree with houses, regional figures of each country, since in those times, men did not wear pants, but as cloaks, tied at the waist, sandals, not shoes. In my Nativity scene, I try to do the closest thing to what existed in those times, although it is difficult for me since I live in the USA and the materials to set up a Nativity scene are not available, the characters are from Murcia, Valencia, Seville and where can get them similar to the time of Jesus. I think that what matters most is having the Nativity Scene in their homes and continuing to teach the tradition to their children and grandchildren. A greeting to all the nativity scene and we thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the opinions about the Nativity scene, before all those nativity scene people who can help us with their experiences in setting up a Nativity scene, thank you very much.

    • Controllers 17/05/2016 at 20:27 - Reply

      Hello and welcome to the blog, Alicia.
      We thank you for your comment and we love that you show your point of view in this space that pretends to be a meeting point around the belenismo, this hobby that unites us and must endure.
      A greeting.

  5. Pepe de Prado 27/02/2016 at 13:15 - Reply

    Hello my most cordial affectionate greeting to all the members of Controllers. In a country like ours that I qualify as the No. 1 in the world in nativity scenes this blog "is nailed".
    I have dedicated my life to the crafts of all classes and now retired I dedicate it to quality trees at scale.
    There are errors for lack of information that could be corrected for example the very common blades in the windmills that are vintage, and many others, which I will publish here if you allow me.
    !!! But a birth in each home erases with its love any defect. A hug.

    • Controllers 29/02/2016 at 12:00 - Reply

      Hello and welcome to the blog, Pepe.

      Of course, any contribution from someone like you (allow us to tute you from the closeness that gives us share this hobby) will be appreciated.
      We hope to see you a lot here, and that you enjoy the contents that we are spreading.
      A greeting.

  6. Carlos Maria 23/02/2016 at 09:35 - Reply

    (I follow, sorry)
    There they were, but Maria and José had to move some way to Bethlehem and in the state of Mary it is possible that they did not walk the road. In addition the lodging was a manger and, not only a buay used to plow the fields, surely there would be more animals.

  7. Carlos Maria 23/02/2016 at 09:32 - Reply

    Some more detail about his article on the anachronisms of the nativity scene.
    With regard to the pigs, sharing Antonio's comment, I add that Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son (the parables were based on daily life to be understood) says that the little son started raising pigs. It was a degrading job, which nobody wanted, but it existed at that time.
    Benedict XVI at no time denied the existence of the ox and the mule in the portal of the nativity scene. What he said is that there was no documentation of

  8. Antonio 26/01/2016 at 23:48 - Reply

    Of the errors in our nativity scenes I discuss two:
    1. Snow. Bethlehem is not more than 8 km from Jerusalem. They have not seen the beautiful photographs of the snow-covered city of Jerusalem. It is at 800 m above sea level and the snowfalls are not so uncommon. I myself have lived the day of San Jose, ed, the March 19 a snowfall in the Holy City.
    2. The pigs Well, if we want to contradict the gospel, with the herd of pigs of the demoniac who runs down the cliff, a town located on the shores of Lake Galilee. In addition, the Roman presence was normal in the time of Jesus, not in vain does Herod owe his throne to Rome. The presence of the Romans and their customs are not incompatible with the presence of pork. Within the territory of Galilee there were cities declared impure that the Jews did not step on precisely for that reason, just as there were coastal cities that had a marked Greco-Roman influence where pork meat would not be incompatible.

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