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LIVE CRIB

EVERY CHRISTMAS SEASON SINCE ABOUT 1965, MEMBERS OF ST. PAUL'S
CHURCH IN MASSILLON, OHIO RE-ENACT THE FIRST CHRISTMAS. FOR ONE WEEK
BEFORE THE FEAST, AND LASTING THREE TO FOUR NIGHTS, THE ROLES OF
MARY, JOSEPH, AND THE SHEPHERDS ARE PORTRAYED BY CHURCH MEMBERS, WHO
DRESS IN THE COSTUME OF THE PERIOD, MADE BY WOMEN VOLUNTEERS
BELONGING TO THE CHURCH.
THE SETTING IS MOST REALISTIC. A STABLE, BUILT BY THE MEN OF THE
PARISH, IS ERECTED OUTSIDE ON THE CHURCH GROUNDS. A STRAW-FILLED
MANGER IS INSIDE, CONTAINING A BABY-DOLL WHO REPRESENTS JESUS.
(PEOPLE SAY THAT A LIVE CHILD IS NOT USED BECAUSE OF THE COLD WEATHER
OF DECEMBER NIGHTS.) ANIMALS, USUALLY A COW AND SOME SHEEP AND PIGS,
ARE LENT BY MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH LIVING ON FARMS, AND STAY IN THE
STABLE DAY AND NIGHT DURING THE PERIOD IN WHICH THE PLAYS ARE
PERFORMED.
NO ADMISSION IS CHARGED, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC USUALLY STOPS BY
AND VIEWS IT. FOR MANY PEOPLE OF MASSILLON OF ALL FAITHS, GOING TO
SEE THE LIVE CRIB HAS BECOME AS MUCH A TRADITION AS THE PERFORMANCE.

Submitter comment: SINCE 1970, ANOTHER LOCAL CHURCH, THE FAITH MEMORIAL BAPTIST OF
REEDURBAN (ABOUT FIVE MILES AWAY FROM ST. PAUL'S), HAS PUT ON A
SIMILAR PRODUCTION
WITH STABLE, CLOTHES, ANIMALS, ETC., EXCEPT THAT THEY
HAVE THE CHARACTERS ACTING OUT A PLAY USING THE BIBLE STORY OF THE
NATIVITY AS A SCRIPT, WHEREAS ST. PAUL'S HAS NO ORAL PRESENTATION.
FAITH MEMORIAL DRAWS EVEN BIGGER CROWDS THAN THE ST. PAUL CRIB,
POSSIBLY BECAUSE OF ITS LOCATION--ON THE MAIN ROAD ONE BLOCK AWAY
FROM A BIG SHOPPING MALL.

Where learned: OHIO ; MASSILLON

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL

Subject headings: DRAMA -- Religious
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Christmas Season See F645.2 for Advent Season.
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Structure for dance, game, pastime, sport, drama, etc.

Date learned: 10-00-1973

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