She told me that when she was five years old, 40 some years ago, her Mother presented her with baby Jesus. She does not remember what was said only that the tradition of the Acostadita should never be forgotten. Every year, her Mother celebrated Christmas by choosing a Godmother. On Christmas Eve the Godmother brings baby Jesus to the Nativity and places Him in the manger. Family and friends gather for the ceremony and sing songs and lullabies to Baby Jesus. After her Mother passed away, the tradition continued. During the year, the Baby is dressed in fancy outfits made by loving hands but on Christmas Eve Jesus lies naked in the crib.
What I found strange about this Baby Jesus were his eyes. They are so realistic and as I looked at the face I felt as if the doll was alive and conveying love through his eyes. My friend said she feels the same thing when she looks at her Baby Jesus.
She carefully undressed the small figure and I noticed her face full of tenderness as she undid the gold cincture and removed his crown. When Baby Jesus was naked except for a blue diaper, she placed him in a small basket covered with an embroidered cloth. As she placed Him in front of Mary and Joseph she said, "These figures are called 'peregrines' (pilgrims) and they were given to my Mother by the Mother Superior of the Dionicio Conde Catholic school in Puebla, Mexico."
My friend recalled how every Christmas the figures took their place of honor for the Christmas celebration. She is happy that her sister gave her the wooden figures that belonged to her mother and my friend continues observing the Acostadita. "I want my daughters to know and understand this beautiful tradition so even though I am now in the United States, they will also know how to celebrate the birth of Christ.
The figures are made of wood and the arms and legs are hinged enabling the figures to kneel or move their arms. When St. Joseph broke his arm, they took the figure to a doll repair shop. My friend was told that the figures are unique and that the carpenter that made them was probably a professional craftsman. The spike stand is primitive and looks dangerous, but it holds up the figures when they are standing. I collect different Nativities but I have to admit that this is a very impressive set.
After seeing the figures, a thought entered my mind that the carpenter who made these special dolls was way ahead of his time because he put "leggings" on Our Blessed Mother!
"The reason for the Christmas season" is a perfect slogan as we celebrate
the birth of Christ!