Belen Viviente - Live Nativity, Arcos de la Frontera, Spain
The Saturday before Christmas
The Belen Viviente of Arcos de la Frontera, or Live Nativity, is one of the oldest and most beautiful of Cadiz Province. In celebration of Christ's birth, the townsfolk of Arcos voluntarily participate in the event which lasts for one night only.
The Old Quarter's main square, Plaza del Cabildo, is transformed into Bethlehem of Judea, which is covered in sand to recreate domestic scenes with tents, a giant watermill, palm trees, washer women, washing lines, families cooking over fires, live animals and of course a bit of flamenco! Other areas are transformed into fields with horses ploughing back and forth. Dotted around town are blacksmiths, food sellers, the elite Roman families and of course the Holy Family itself. And to add a touch of authenticity, Roman Soliders pound the streets in uniform, ensuring that everything is in order.
You won't find such a genuine event anywhere else and the streets are heaving with onlookers.
View map to see all properties in this area: