photo from www.newsinthesun.com

Today is January 6th – Epiphany in the church calendar. To some people it is Twelfth Night – the day by which all Christmas decorations should be put away. Here in Tenerife it is Dia de los Reyes – Kings’ Day – when all good Spanish children receive gifts from the Three Kings, or a bag of coal – carbon del Rey – if they’ve been naughty.

Another Christmas tradition here is the making of a crib – un Belen – which can be anything from a plastic scene from a euro shop to an elaborate creation with life-size figures.

The one in the above photograph is mine. In 1980 I made the main figures at pottery class, then my children got in on the act. Mandy made the horse, Debs the cow, John the pig and Dan, who was two at the time, insisted on making a second infant Jesus. Even when my children are far away at Christmas, I have this crib to remind me of when they were young and always there.

In our shopping village, Las Galletas, I only just spotted this Belen in the window of the farmacia in time before they took it away. The detail is amazing.

An oxen-drawn cart and chickens . . 

. . . a village plaza with a bar in the background and a circular meeting-place, choristers mounting the steps  . .

. .  a market with ham and sausages, cheeses and potatoes for sale  . . 

. . .  flamenco dancers by the duck-pond welcoming Los Reyes on their camels . .
... and finally the inn with the Nativity scene in the cave stable beneath it - complete with Guardia Civil..



  1. What I never understood about these Belen scenes is why there is always one character urinating and another doing a number 2. (I'm being serious here - you can see them in pic6 to the left.) It used to puzzle me every year when I lived in Granada province. The only explanation I got was a shoulder shrug.

    1. I shall investigate on your behalf, Mike, and see if I get a straight answer!

  2. Love the figures that you and your family crafted. Just beautiful!
    Happy New Year to you =)


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