Every year around Advent millions of people from Spanish speaking countries create Belenismos or pesebres. Belenismo is a term that comes from the word “Belen” which means Bethlehem, and pesebre which means manger. Belenismo is the art of recreating the area in Bethlehem where Our Savior was born. Today, many families work in their Nativity scenes during the season of Advent. In some Spanish speaking countries it’s a very serious undertaking.
The Belenismo has to recreate, as much as possible, the area as it looked at the time of Jesus. The families make their own mountains, mangers and shepherds’ little houses. They also add crafts and figures passed down from former generations. As the years pass on, the size of their Belenismo increases.
Our religion teacher, Mrs. Gilda Brink, shared her Belenismo with our class at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School. Mrs. Brink, who was born and raised in Peru, actually transported her Nativity scene to our classroom and arranged it on a large table for all to enjoy. When the students entered the classroom for the first period of religion, the classroom lights were off. As students heard the soft tunes of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, all eyes were fixed on the string lights that illuminated a beautiful Belenismo.
Later during the week, one student created a palm tree that was placed near the manger. This is a new addition to our teacher’s Belenismo, and it will forever remind her of our class.
Poppy is a seventh grade student at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School in Altamonte Springs.