Christmas Tradition When To Take The Decorations Down Christmas – Introduce the Beloved European Family Tradition of Collecting ‘Santons’ at Christmas!

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Christmas – Introduce the Beloved European Family Tradition of Collecting ‘Santons’ at Christmas!

Have you heard of ‘santon’? Well they are great for Christmas collectors in Europe. Santon comes from the word ‘santouon’ which means ‘little saint’. They are clay figures, hand painted and about 70 millimeters tall representing French Provencal letters of the 1800s.

Many people have a real interest in collecting these statistics. There are hundreds of different types, meats and more to choose from. There are bakers, millers, fishermen, water carriers and bear trainers! It is common for many families to add a piece or two each year to their home collection. Santon collections are considered family heirlooms that are lovingly passed down from parent to child through the generations. Every year families enjoy choosing a new addition or two to their collection.

Santon’s creation is said to have started as a popular anti-revolutionary movement in France towards the end of the churches at this time. Creches were a major business before the French Revolution and were displayed in churches where crowds flocked to see the paintings. When the churches were closed, the people’s beloved churches were no longer available to the people. It was Jean-Louise Lagnel (1764-1822) from Marseilles who began making the beloved nursery figures for people to buy and display in their homes. Jean-Louise was sought after for her cheap figures.

Jean-Louise Lagnel used the best clays from Marseille and Aubagne. They used small molds and the designs were hand painted. It didn’t take long for others to improve his skills. These numbers are called ‘creches for the people’. Soon the santon makers added local people and products that became known. The santon makers’ idea of ​​using ordinary people from everyday life in their pilgrimage to pay homage to the Holy Family was an instant success. After that santon demonstrations were held in all areas. Today, the oldest and largest (established in 1803) still exists and is popular today in Marseille. It takes place from Advent to Epiphany. It’s an event not to be missed!

Still known today is the art of santon making and workshops in many areas in the Provence region where visitors are welcomed as participants in meetings or browsing and shopping. The same methods that have been used for centuries are still used today. It’s a chance to see art in progress and a chance to buy santons as valuable gifts or for your home.

Marcel Carbonel is known as one of the oldest and most famous santon makers in Marseille, France today. Santon Boutiques and workshops including Marcel’s are open all year round. You can also buy santons online from major department stores and boutiques through their online stores. Here are some things you can Google:

Santons in Marseille – Atelier Arterra, Cabanon des Accoules and Marcel Carbonel

Santons in Aubagne – Lei Santoun Castelin Peirano, Santons Magali. Santons scaturro Daniel

Santon in Aix en Provence – Santons Cavasse, Santons Fouque, Santons Jouve, Santons Richard

As you might expect santons are not cheap! There are two styles:

1. Santons ‘d’argile’ which are hand painted clay figures, six sizes (from one inch to six inches). This is very popular with French collectors especially in size 2.

2. Santon ‘habilles’ which resemble small cloth dolls often carry everyday items such as baskets.

So why not introduce ‘santon’ in your family this festive season. They are an opportunity to participate in a very beloved tradition that can be your family tradition. Save and enjoy. Share stories and legends related to santon with your family and you too can enjoy this much-loved tradition today!

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