Guatemalan Maya Nacimientos

Rudy Giron: AntiguaDailyPhoto.com &emdash; El artesano de los nacimientos

As I have shared with you before, during early December, in Guatemala people begin putting up their Nacimientos (Nativity Scenes); a tradition that was brought to Guatemala by Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt and then spread to the rest of American continent.

One important aspect of nacimientos is that baby Jesus is missing from the scene since his actual birthday is on December 25th. In the mean time, Marí­a and José begin asking posada, the quest of shelter; these celebrations are known in Guatemala as Posadas.

For the December issue of Revue Magazine, one of my photographs of Nacimientos was chosen for the cover from the other photographs available. I made a series of photographs from this Nacimiento which depicts Mayan people from Sololá a few years ago. I never knew who the creators of these Nativity scenes were, but I found the pieces so original and creative. Yesterday, however, by pure chance I walked by booth that had similar Nacimiento motifs and since I had just picked up the latest issue of Revue Magazine I decided to show it to the young man tending the stand. Without a hesitation he grabbed it and yelled, “Look mom, our Nacimiento is famous now!” to the lady sitting on the next booth. I asked how he recognized this nacimiento as his, well because of the paint style and because nobody else makes this kind of Nativity scenes. Of course, now I have many more styles as you can see here. We make our Nacimiento pieces from clay, we then bake them and published them and finally we paint them by hand to represent the different clothing worn by the Maya people of the highlands. This artisan and his family live in Santa Inéz, the village just outside Antigua Guatemala as you enter the town on the road that takes you to Guatemala City.

That’s the story behind the cover and today’s picture. I hope you like the story behind the scenes.

My photograph of a typical Nacimiento is the cover of Revue Magazine for December 2013

© 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • NYChapin

    Great story Rudy. Well you know I am a Chapin and don’t like to “exaggerate.” But legend has it that when I was a little baby I was so cute, that neighbors asked my mom if they could put me in their nacimientos !

    • I thought you really looked like baby Jesus. 😉

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