Nativity scenes, called "nacimientos" in Spanish, are an important part of Mexican Christmas traditions. I am always amazed by the creativity that goes into constructing these elaborate scenes, and the variety of materials that are used to create them. Here are some photos of nacimientos.

This Mexican nativity scene is made with dried flowers, which are known as flor inmortal, "immortal flower" or siempre viva, "always alive".

This nacimiento was on display at the Noche de Rabanos radish festival in Oaxaca. See more photos from the Night of the Radishes.

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Nativity Bowl

Bowl Nativity Scene
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

This nacimiento (nativity scene) by ceramicist Irene Aguilar Alcantara depicts the figures in the nativity scene around a bowl.

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Tin Nativity Scene

Tin Nativity Scene
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

This nacimiento is made of tin. It was displayed in the Zocalo of Oaxaca City.

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A Nativity Scene in Levels

A Mexican Nativity Scene
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

This elaborate nativity scene with several different levels was set up in the lobby of a hotel.

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Nacimiento with Piñata

Nacimiento and Pinata
&copy Benito Hernandez

This nativity scene with a piñata hanging above it was on display at the Palacio Nacional, the National Palace in Mexico City.

Like nacimientos, piñatas are also an important part of Mexican Christmas celebrations.

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Clay Nativity Scene

&copy Suzanne Barbezat

I think this is my favorite nacimiento of those in this photo gallery, although I find it amusing that the baby Jesus is out of proportion to the other figures in the scene - he's the only one who fits in the stable!

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A Traditional Nacimiento

Mexican Nacimiento
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

I found this nativity scene set up outside Teotihuacan archaeological site.

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Patio Nativity Scene

Large ceramic nativity scene
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

The large ceramic figures in this nativity scene are about two and a half feet tall. The nativity scene takes up most of the patio of a historical building in Oaxaca.

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Three Folk Art Nativity Scenes

Photo by Ivan Hernández, licensed under Creative Commons

In this photo you can see three different nativity scenes made from different materials. You can also see the Mexican Christmas flower, poinsettia, the Flor de Nochebuena.

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A nativity scene
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

This is a small section of a huge nativity scene that was set up in a Mexican hotel lobby.

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3 Kings Christmas Lights

It's not a full nativity scene, but I like the three kings shown in Christmas lights. These were part of the elaborate Christmas decorations in the Mexico City Zocalo one year.

See more photos of the Mexico City Zocalo at Christmas.

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Miniature Nacimiento

&copy Suzanne Barbezat

This miniature nacimiento is very elaborate with flowing water and a bridge.