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At the Manger

In Western culture, no Nativity scene is complete without a donkey and perhaps a couple of sheep. But when an Australian artist depicts the Nativity, a kangaroo, a koala and a kookaburra gather around the manger.

That's not unusual. Cultures around the world include familiar animals: warthogs and zebras in African scenes, wolves and polar bears in Native America, monkeys and jaguars in South America. 

They can all be seen in a special collection housed at the University of Dayton in Ohio. 

The University of Dayton's Marian Library holds the largest repository in the world of books, artwork and artifacts devoted to Mary, the mother of Christ. Among the items are more than 3,000 Nativity sets from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Some are made of clay, others of wood, burlap, straw, wax, paper, plants, even auto parts. 

You can explore Nativities from around the world here.

You can also see them on the University's campus. Its At the Manger: World Nativity Traditions display is free and open to the public. This year highlights the Latin flavor of the Nativity. More information on how to go is available here. 


News and Communications Staff