In 1223, Saint Francis of Assisi,
whose mother came from Provence, created a nativity
scene with live people and animals. Shortly afterwards,
Christmas cribs appeared in the churches.
1789, during the French Revolution, all places
of worship were closed down. The people of Provence,
who were attached to their traditions and could
no longer pray in front of the church crèches,
started making santons (Christmas crib figures).
It was at this
time that traditional characters such as the Ravi
(delighted man), the
Pistachié, Roustide, Margarido, and the
Blind Man and his Son started to appear in the
nativity plays or "Pastorales".
Each santon is hand-made,
and every santon is therefore a unique handcrafted
Santons are the ambassadors of Provencal
traditions all around the world.