Vatican lights up Christmas tree on Saturday.

The Vatican will unveil this year’s Nativity scene and light up its Christmas tree at a ceremony in St Peter’s Square on Saturday 9 December at 17.00.

The Vatican’s manger scene will evoke the first living Nativity scene, 800 years after it was created by St Francis in Greccio north of Rome in 1223.

In addition to the Holy Family, the manger will feature life-sized terracotta statues depicting St Francis and those who helped him recreate the first live Nativity scene in the 13th century.

The crib scene, which comes from the Italian diocese of Rieti, will be unveiled and illuminated along with the Vatican’s Christmas tree, a silver fir from the north Italian province of Cuneo.

The 25-metre high tree is decorated with thousands of nursery-grown edelweiss, a white mountain flower native to the Alps.

The Christmas tree and Nativity scene will remain in place throughout the Christmas season, from 9 December until 7 January 2024.

The 2023 edition of 100 Presepi, the international Nativity crib exhibition, will be held during the same period under the colonnade of St Peter’s Square.

Rome’s Christmas tree, which this year moved to a new location in Piazza del Popolo, was illuminated on Friday along with the festive lights on Via del Corso.

Photo Shutterstock

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