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Azorean Nativity Scene Returns to Portugalia Marketplace and it’s Bigger and Better

Nov 30, 2023 | Attractions, Press, Visit

Azorean Nativity Scene Returns to Portugalia Marketplace and it’s Bigger and Better

By Lurdes C. da Silva, November 30th, 2023, The Herald News


FALL RIVER – Portugalia Marketplace is once again decked out for the arrival of Christmas, featuring an Azorean presépio (nativity scene) and village that is even bigger and has more moving parts than in past years.

“It’s at a point that it’s a tradition that can’t be broken,” said Michael Benevides, vice-president of business development at Portugalia Marketplace. “It’s a beautiful tradition and attracts a lot of people. We see a lot of non-Portuguese people here.”

In its tenth year, the gigantic presépio was crafted over the course of five days by Azorean artist Gualberto Cordeiro. He utilized styrofoam, moss, clay, fabric and other materials to give shape to biblical scenes and ‘bring to life’ an Azorean village, where residents roam the streets in traditional clothes and take part in folklife activities and beloved traditions, such as the Santo Christo Procession and Romeiros.

“It’s a privilege to come from there [Azores] to make this nativity scene and realize how important it is for the community here,” said Cordeiro at the presépio’s unveiling ceremony on Nov. 28.

“It’s really a privilege to be able to convey in this nativity scene these details of our Azorean traditions, and I think that many of you can picture yourselves in these traditions and in the figures of this nativity scene, both in what they represent from a religious point of view, but also from a social point of view,” he added.

Roberto Medeiros, president of the Mosaico Cultural and Solidarity Association of Lagoa, Azores, USA and Canada, who coordinates this initiative and lent the pieces on display from his vast collection of nativity figures, said the aim is to innovate and improve every year.

“This year, it has more moving parts and the village grew quite a bit,” he said. “It has more houses, different figures, more lighting and we paid more attention to the mechanical aspect.”

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