How a crib originates in Ischia …


Ischia, a land of peasants, sailors, wine growers, but also a land of .... ‘cribers’! Yes, because every year at this time our entire island is teeming with artists and professionals, young and old engaged in a real art, the Nativity scene that becomes a moment to meet and get together around a symbol of our faith and our history.

A crib in the “square” is not born any day, it takes time, ideas, care, passion, it is important to be clear that not only more arms but also more minds come together to say so “old and ever new” a wonder that every year is repeated before our eyes: the mystery of the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of the Son of God on this earth.
And all of this requires a short period of time, usually from the middle of October begins the foundations of the crib so that everything is ready, according to tradition for the December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
It starts of course by the “skeleton” of the crib, the original form on which it will then set all the work.
Many materials are involved in this construction, but on our island prevail the green tuff stone characteristic of our territory, sand, rocks, cobblestones, polystyrene, sawdust, dirt, the inevitable moss, small bamboo.
The landscapes of the cribs Ischia resume often those of our island, with the creation of small mountains or hills, the inevitable “parracine” of our country (the typical dry stone walls built with stones of green tuff serving as containment for the land) , the vines, the most beautiful places of our country and then in the houses “tomatoes” hung just as it still does in many of our cellars and homes.
The collection of moss in our woods is then a real “ritual” that involves everyone, by which time the composition is in its closing bars. But this is not enough. It is essential the care given to details: the perspective must be respected trying to put the biggest in the advanced part of the crib, the smaller ones behind, and even the lighting is the other great protagonist of these achievements, because gives that touch of magic that makes them special: a noteworthy example this year is the crib made by the children of the youth Ass. Moveo of Panza (near the Parish of St. Leonard) who not only took over parts of the territory of Panza as Montecorvo, the Parish of St. Leonard, the vineyards of Piromallo, but has focused on strong lighting which alternates night, dawn, day and sunset, in a series of unique emotions for visitors who will admire it.
Young people are certainly the protagonists of this and other cribs and their participation while under the guidance of more experienced adults and is a key component of enthusiasm and passion that should never fail in these moments. Each one a particular task and irreplaceable to keep everyone experience that is unique even if it is repeated from year to year.
On our island there is also the Associazione Amici del Presepe which organizes a competition for all the cribs divided into categories, many who compete among individuals, a sign that even in our homes has not lost the joy of renewing this beautiful tradition to live together as a family!
The evening of the awards ceremony is usually held immediately after the Epiphany with the participation of all members. This is also a way to encourage everyone to do their best and get better and better every year.
Emotions that are handed down from father to son and that our young people are picking wisely to continue to live this part of the year carving out space for live art, the crib that never ceases to give us moments of true peace in the midst of the din of a life increasingly chaotic, consumerist rediscovering the taste and flavor of the true Christmas!

by Francesco Schiano

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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