The Belen is the most important and prominent symbol of Christmas in the Philippines . This is a creche or scene in Bethlehem (Natividad) showing the scene of the birth of Jesus, Spirit next to his father Joseph and mother Mary. The displaying to its households or establishments reinforces the faith of Catholics in their faith and serve as a symbol of the importance of the birth of Jesus, the Savior.
According to the History of the Bethlehem, St. Francis of Assissi introduced the three-dimensional Nativity scene or belen we see today. According to the biographer Thomas, St. Francis was the first manufacturer of rack made of straw to serve as the altar for Mass Christmas. In 1223, he asked for help to his friend Giovanni belen Velita to make a cave near where he Greccio hold Christmas Mass. Since, then, making belen gradually spread and became tradition that the Catholic and Protestant countries such as Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Mexico and other countries in Central America. In the Philippines, this tradition and introduced and propagated by the Spanish Franciscan Missionaries.
Oftentimes it is a miniature replica of that scene, but there are also some that makes it look realistic and placed in the garden, inside or outside the church, schools, and even in any establishment as their Christmas decorations.
Like parol, diversified and unique designs, shapes and materials for the belen seen today. It uses more lights, lanterns and backdrop or drawn scenery scene or atmosphere in which to render the environment or maturity of the scenes in theater. The others were not only Mary, Joseph and the Holy newborn Jesus is seen in other belen but also the Three Kings, shepherds, angels and other animals in the manger when Jesus was born.
In 2003, a famous former belen were seen at the COD building in Cubao, Quezon City and moved to Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City. Belen is known because of its unique comfort to attract some viewers to the colorful lights, sound presentation, and the statement that while acting trend of the mannequin. They use the automatons to make it move the statues of up, down, backwards or even backward. Year after year, changing owners and organizers of the show’s theme of travel as Santa Claus , having a clean environment this Christmas season, and more.
Over hundreds of belen will see in Marikina City.
The Tarlac also known as “Bethlehem Capital of the Philippines” will hold their annual “Belenismo in Tarlac” or the competition in making belen. As the lantern in Pampanga, the giant belen they created with different designs and themes. It will be displayed outside homes or establishments throughout the season of Christmas.
– Source, http://fil.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Belen translated from Filipino and edited by Chester Diaz
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