Spaniards love their Christmas nativity scenes, but there is nothing traditional about these quirky versions. The Local takes a look at seven of the most unusual 'Beléns' on display in Spain this year.
A chocoholic's dream
Every year the town of Rute in southern Spain constructs a nativity scene made entirely of chocolate - 1,000kg of the sweet stuff, to be precise - making it the biggest chocolate nativity scene in Spain. From palm trees to turrets, each tiny detail of the huge scene is made from white, milk and dark chocolate.
Photo: Ayuntamiento de Tomares
The town of Tomares in Seville constructs the biggest Playmobil nativity scene in the world – at 140 metres squared, featuring 6,200 characters. It spans thousands of years of history, from Vikings to Romans to the Middle Ages and of course, featuring the Nativity.
A sombre tribute
Photo: Photo: Mensajeros de la Paz
In early September the image of a young boy washed up on a Turkish beach as his family fled Syria and attempted to reach Europe was seen by over 20 million people around the world in just 12 hours. A Madrid church has based its 2015 nativity scene
around the tragedy, hoping to draw attention to the plight of refugees.
Photo: Fiona Govan
It's no secret that Spain is a nation of ham-lovers, so what better way to pay homage to the nation's favourite food than to carve out a nativity scene in a leg of jamón?! This artistic masterpiece was spotted in the Museo de Jamón (The Ham Museum), a bar dedicated to ham in Madrid.
Photo: Madrid zoo
Madrid zoo has designed its very own marine nativity scene, submerged four metres underwater in its shark enclosure. We're pretty sure sharks didn't make an appearance at the birth of Jesus, but they definitely make an interesting addition to the traditional tale.
The live nativity scene
Every year the town of Colmenar Viejo, 30km north of Madrid, stages a "living nativity scene" featuring a cast of around 250. This year the scene will take place on Saturday 19th December at 6.30pm.
What a corker
The town of Barcenaciones in Cantabria has a nativity scene made entirely out of corks, from the houses of Bethlehem to Mary, Joseph and Jesus themselves.