Shortly after that clay figures were created in Italy to show the birth of the baby Jesus. Nativity scenes, also called nacimientos in Spanish, feature Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, angels and some farm animals. On Christmas, the baby Jesus is placed at the center of the scene.
When the Spaniards conquered Mexico they brought with them these nativity scenes.
They used the religious figures to try and convert the indigenous to Catholicism. Over time, Mexicans adapted the European tradition and styled the nativity scenes in their own way.
Different regions of Mexico have their own designs of nativity scenes. Nacimientos in Mexico are made of clay painted in bright colors, in tin called hojalata, out of straw, out of corn husks and many other materials. They can be miniature to life size.
The slideshow below is just of the nacimientos I've collected or seen while traveling through Mexico this holiday season. There are hundreds more styles of nacimientos in Mexico.
They are part of the rich Christmas tradition here.
Feliz Navidad to all.