The Valga Handcrafted Moving Nativity Scene is one of the most spectacular Christmas compositions in Galicia. Among its main characteristics are its large dimensions, that all its figures and elements are made by hand and, above all, that it does not limit itself to compiling typical scenes of the religious tradition, but also incorporates elements of local, regional, National and international news.

The tradition of assembling Nativity scenes is very old and many houses have their own Nativity scene at Christmas. Also the institutions and some public organisms make or sponsor the elaboration of Nativity scenes. This is how the Belén de Valga was born. In 1995, a group of residents participated in a town hall workshop consisting of painting figures of the Nativity scene, which, once completed, would form the town hall Nativity scene and would be exhibited in the plenary hall. The large influx of neighbors to see it, was the seed of what is now the Valga Nativity Scene.

There are many Nativity scenes that are assembled during Christmas throughout the Galician and Spanish geography. But this Nativity scene is not only reduced to representing the scene of the “birth”. The setting is a Galician village, especially a Valga village. Therefore, the main scenes depicted are not set in a desert, with camels, although they can be found. The setting is the Galician cultural and ethnographic tradition. In this way we can see how in a house they are carrying out the traditional slaughter of the pig or how a woman milks a cow, among many other scenes in rural Galicia. This creates several spaces that our visitors gradually discover.

The real work for us begins each year in September, with the decision of the scenes to be made and the planning of the distribution of the more than 3,000 pieces, of which more than 300 have movement, in the approximately 250 m2 that the Nativity scene occupies. . It also has several water pumps, around 8,000 lamps, and about 30,000 meters of wiring. Everything changes annually, always incorporating new figures, as well as new sets and scenes.

Along with the classic religious scenes such as the Three Wise Men from the East or the birth, you will find typical scenes from traditional Galicia (blacksmithing, wheat harvest, wine and bagasse for liquor, Santa Compaña legend …). Also, of course, local scenes (different processions held throughout the year in the town, the Youth Festival, archaeological excavations …). Among the figures are famous figures from the municipality of Valga such as La Bella Otero and Xesús Ferro Couselo.

Social and political news also have a place. They are scenes chosen from events of great social relevance. This is a part of the Nativity scenes that serves as a mirror of current affairs, but it also has a humorous character and, sometimes, a social criticism that creates smiles in each visitor, making them the most sought-after scenes. That is why, among them, we always place a hidden character, which the visitor must look for. The winner of this game will take a figure from the Nativity scene.

The figures and decorations are made of paper, plaster, modeling paste, wire, wood, stone, fabrics …, being a completely handmade work. In the Nativity scene there is nothing bought, everything is handmade and most of the time recycled. Suffice it to say that all the motors that move the figures are wiper motors, electric toothbrushes and electric motors of all kinds. This artisan tradition is not at odds with new technologies, since, through a computer and a programmer, the different phases of the day and other effects (light, sound, snow, thunder, …) are simulated.

These unique aspects undoubtedly make the singularity of this Nativity scene, which attracts a large influx of public. In recent editions, an influx of 40,000 visitors is estimated. Other elements to consider are the popular and participatory nature of this activity, which highlights the work, enthusiasm and dedication of many neighbors. In addition, it helps to maintain the tradition of Nativity scenes and, on the other hand, it highlights the formative aspect that shows trades that have already disappeared.

Today, it is considered the largest artisanal Nativity scene in movement in Galicia and one of the most important in Spain. It is one of the most important and expected social and cultural events of the year, and not only for the people of Valga, but also for thousands of people who decide to move from different parts of Galicia (and different regions of Spain) to our town. .

Our main illusion is to entertain people with our charming little handmade figures, which transmit magical scenes awakening in each person the spirit of Christmas.

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