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Across the Equator

South American Adventures

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Santa's Village
losmorris
Nativity scenes are a significant part of most Christmas celebrations. We have them in our homes, we see them in store windows and, here in Rio, we see dozens of life sized examples on display at a nearby park.

The Jardim de Alah is a dog park for most of the year. But at Christmas time it houses the Festival de Presépios, or Nativity scene festival. The event includes Santa’s village, an arrangement sponsored by many local businesses, and a couple of dozen nativity scenes.



Santa’s village is delightful for holiday cheer but a bit incongruous with fake pine trees and very real palm trees.



The primary attraction is obviously the nativity scenes. The event is a competition with a prize of R$50,000 to the winner. Voting is done by attendees, all of whom can enter free of charge to enjoy the Christmas spectacle.

The most common scenes are pretty traditional.


But modern versions grace the scene as well.


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In addition to the village and nativities the park has other northern hemisphere reminders of winter, including this rather large and fierce looking polar bear.



Fortunately, I was travelling with a polar bear trainer who was able to keep the big guy in line.



Had the bear misbehaved the local municipal police would no doubt have taken charge. Or they would have found out how fast those Segways really will travel!



The final touch of holiday cheer was the Christmas concert in the park. Christmas is universal and the carols sounded great even in Portuguese.



So Merry Christmas to all from the other side of the equator!

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