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St. Peter’s nativity scene will be made of sand

CHRISTMAS NATIVITY SCENE
DESIREE MARTIN / AFP
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Will draw from an ancient tradition of sand sculpture from the Italian city of Jesolo

The Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican for Christmas 2018 will honor “the ancient tradition of sand sculpture” of the Italian city of Jesolo, reports L’Osservatore Romano in its October 30-31 edition.

In sand from the Dolomites, the representation of the Nativity of the Lord will be created on a surface of some 25 square meters (270 square feet). It will include a bas-relief measuring 16 meters long (52 feet), five meters high (16 feet), and six meters deep (20 feet).

It will be inaugurated on December 7 in the afternoon and will be in place until January 13, the day of the Baptism of the Lord.  

According to the Roman daily Il Messaggero, 1,000 cubic meters of sand will be needed to complete this work, which will begin in mid-November. Before reaching Rome, the sand will be blessed by the patriarch of Venice, Francesco Moraglia. 

In addition to the Nativity scene, a Christmas tree will also be installed in St. Peter’s Square, like every year. This time it will be a spruce tree measuring 21 meters in height (nearly 70 feet) measuring 10 meters (32 feet) wide at the base.

This tree will be donated by the Italian diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, in the north of the country, between Venice and Austria.

Both the tree and the Nativity scene will be illuminated by lighting managed by the Governorate of the State of the Vatican City. These installations, remind the Vatican Daily, consume little energy and have a low environmental impact.

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