I love to see how different cultures around the world translate the visuals of the Nativity. They take a story passed down for centuries and carried across the world and design it with local resources and influences. (I loved the Community Nativity in Dallas so much because of this. If you live in the DFW metroplex and haven’t been, you must.)
With that in mind, I have a special affinity to local nativity scenes. I keep my eyes peeled when I travel for a unique Nativity display.
When my husband and I lived in Hawaii in the early years of our marriage we didn’t have discretionary money. I eyed things in the gift shops but never bought them. After returning to the mainland the thing that I regretted not buying was a coconut nativity. So when a friend went out to Hawaii on holiday and asked us to pet sit I had her pick me up a coconut nativity should she happen to see one.
Most of the Polynesian nativities I’ve seen revolve around this same principle of a hollowed out coconut housing the sacred events. Use what you have, again a common refrain.
I will note, however, that the creches I’ve seen from New Zealand generally are not carved out of coconut. Instead they are carved of wood with a traditional wharenui representing the stable. I’ve only seen a couple photos of Maori nativities, and not in any store. If anyone can tell me where I could procure one of my own I’d be very grateful.
This post is part of our month-long exploration into Polynesian Christmas traditions and inspirations. See the whole collection of activities and discoveries here.