Is it a crèche or a nativity set? Whatever you call it, you’ve not seen them like this before!
The origin story of the Christmas display many of us have beneath our tree or on the mantle dates back to 1223 when St. Francis of Assisi (then a deacon) visited the small town of Grecio and had no room to preach in the small church. He brought the community to the hillside and created a live nativity with a baby, hay in a manger, animals and more to share the story of the first Christmas. Since then, Christians around the globe commemorate the birth of Christ with these displays with their own artistic flair.
UD’s Marian Library has one of the largest collections of international Nativities in the United States. Each year new sets are designed and presented in multiple exhibits within UD’s Roesch Library. This year, you can see the collection during a special Thanksgiving Open House celebration (and on display through January 26).
To Attend the Open House:
Saturday, November 30 from 1-5 pm. The afternoon will include four exhibits, creative children’s activities, refreshments, live entertainment, The Stable Store, and a place to catch the football games and scores. It is free and open to all.
The collections of the University of Dayton’s Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute include thousands of nativities from around the world that reflect a variety of customs and traditions. Depicting the story of Christ’s birth and presence, these crèches are expressions of how Christianity has shaped the culture and faith of people all over the world.
During each Christmas season, they select a new group of sets from of the large and diverse crèche collection and explore new themes shown in exhibits on campus and throughout the community. The featured exhibits, shown on three floors of UD’s Roesch library building, have become an anticipated annual event – changing every year. Exhibits are unveiled and activities begin the Saturday after Thanksgiving during our popular open house event. Designed for all ages and featuring many activities for children, this day has become a Thanksgiving tradition for families. After the turkey has been eaten and the Friday shopping has been completed, this event is a perfect ending to Thanksgiving and beginning of the Christmas season.
Also available: The Digital Archive of the Creches.