Every year, the Vatican receives two incredible gifts coming from abroad for Christmas. European dioceses, consortia, and other organizations take turns to pay tribute to the Holy See gigantic fir and a real-size Nativity scene — each of them coming from a different place and telling a story of its own. This tradition started
The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree on St. Peter’s Square started in 1982 at the request of the Polish Pope, John Paul II. It is believed that fir Christmas tree, which is an evergreen plant, represents the resilience of life in fighting against harsh weather.
Christmas 2020: Gifts from Italy and Slovenia
This year's Christmas setting at the Vatican will come from Castelli (Teramo) and will be inaugurated on 11 December with the traditional lighting ceremony. The Nativity scene comes from Abruzzo, central region of Italy, and it is composed of impressive ceramic statues. It represents a cultural symbol for Abruzzo and, at the same time, it is considered a work of contemporary art, outcome of the Castelli’s ceramic tradition, produced by the Grue school of art.
The tree will be just as much majestic: 75 years old, 28 meter high, 70 cm in diameter, the red spruce comes from Kočevje, in the Kočevsko region of Slovenia.
Both the Christmas tree and the ceramic nativity will be installed at the Vatican on 11 December and will remain in St. Peter’s Square until the feast of the Lord’s Baptism on 10 January.
Looking for a new Nativity scene for your household? Browse below our selection of hand-carved wooden and resin nativities from Italy.