Nacimiento Shrine Niche at Capilla de Belén

Nicho de Nacimiento de la iglesia de belén

Nacimientos are Nativity (Navidad in Spanish) scenes shrines made to celebrate during the December until Christmas or Navidad in Spanish. On December 8th, the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated and with this the ‘Religious Christmas Season’ is officially started. Last year, I showed you the Nacimiento in the barrio de la Virgen Inmaculada de la Concepción.

Today, I rather show you the Nacimiento niche at the Capilla de Belén (Bethlehem chapel) located right across the house that belonged to Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt (Saint Brother Peter of Betancourt). You can see the Nacimiento shrine niche in context if you follow the white rabbit to Façade of Belén Church in Antigua Guatemala.

One important aspect of this particular Nacimiento is the fact that Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt managed to get himself in the picture of the Nativity shrine. For those who are not well verse in Catholic imagery, myself included, normally the Nativity scene shows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus along with a few animals. No, Santo Hermano Pedro could not be present there since he was born about 1600 years later, give or take a few moons. Rather, the inclusion of his image, on the right, is to celebrate and to remember that it was Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt who introduced the Nacimiento and Posadas to the American Continent, to La Antigua Guatemala if you want to be precise, and from this old town, this celebration was taken to the rest of the continent. (Thanks to JM Magaña for pointing it out to me.)

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • I like the reference to The Matrix.;-) By looking at the picture I had to do a double take as well and yes, I was a bit perplexed to see a third figure in the Nativity Scene. Although there are different ways to set up a Nacimiento. If I remember correctly, my parents used to set up the Nacimiento with Los Tres Reyes Magos as well…although their official day is the 6th of January, which at our house was sort of the signal to start putting away all of our Christmas decorations. I should backtrack though and state that the Baby Jesus was put in his spot within the Nacimiento after we came back from the Misa de Gallo.

  • MaggieD

    Early Sunday morning in Greensboro NC, drooling over px of Guatemalan Sweet Bread (May 1, 07) craving a cup of Antigua coffee, and wondering what wonderful foods are particular to this season in Antigua (that I’m missing). 🙁 Ah, well, maybe next year….

  • coltrane_lives

    Beautiful even if anachronistic!

  • I think “the white rabbit” is a reference to Alice in Wonderland, but I guess the Matrix can work.. both Western cultural products are equally warped… I think this Nativity scene is part of one of the most interesting facades in La Antigua… is it on a church with two facades? noo… that is the Church of San Pedro that I am thinking about… good God I need to have a vacation in La Antigua (where is not minus something right now) and refresh my Baroque architecture knowledge…

  • Heehee. Thank God this is not an essay and I am not being graded on references then Manolo.

  • Carmen, you are SO wrong. This is indeed an essay and every answer you make is being registered. You have to take a pill, which one is it going to be, the red or blue one?

    Manolo, thanks for straighten our dear teacher about the hidden literary bread-crumbs.

    Coltrane, thanks for the awesome word. You know I am a word collector. 😉

    MaggieD, I will try to take a few shots of the seasonal food for you.

  • No man. I don’t do pills. If you have some Ron Zacapa Centenario then I’ll consider the offer. 😉

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  • Annabella Lombardo

    Me parece precioso su trabajo estoy por enviarlo a Maestros de Espanol aca en Ct.

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  • Lico943

    Rudy: gracias por compartir esta curiosidad que TODOS LOS ANTIGUEÑOS DEBEMOS CONOCER, EN ESPECIAL LOS DEL BARRIO DE LA ESCUELA DE CRISTO (mi barrio querido), cuantas veces no fui a jugar al la plazuela de Belem y nunca supe esta curiosidad…felices pascuas de navidad….un abrazo, Lico43