(ANSA) - Vatican City, November 15 - Vatican preparations for Christmas got properly under way on Tuesday as workmen began erecting the traditional nativity scene in front of St Peter's Basilica.
The nativity scene, or crib, has been a regular Christmas fixture in St Peter's since 1982, when the custom of building a four-metre-high house with lifesize figures in it was started by John Paul II. Along with the giant fir tree which is always placed near it in the square, the crib has become a trademark of Roman Christmases and families often make special trips to see it.
Carpenters on Tuesday began building the temporary two-floor wooden house, in and around which the figures of Mary, Joseph, shepherds and wise men will be arranged. Electricians will later adorn the scene with lights.
During his papacy, John Paul made a habit of holding a special ceremony to inaugurate the St Peter's nativity scene in the last few days before Christmas. The Vatican has not yet announced whether Benedict will continue this tradition.
Read the complete article First sign of Christmas in Vatican from ANSA.it.