During the Christmas holidays, many towns of Girona and the Costa Brava organise all kinds of activities such as the lighting ceremonies of the Christmas lights, Christmas and craft fairs and markets, “caga tiós", representations of the shepherds (pastorets), concerts and carol singing, or also the installation of ice skating rinks... One of the most traditional activities of this period, however, are the Living Nativity Scenes.

The living nativity scenes are representations of biblical scenes from the Gospels with people in motion and dressed in period costumes. It is a good opportunity to visit these towns as the different scenes represented will take you to different emblematic corners of each town and its mediaeval quarters. There are paid nativity scenes, others are free, and some of them, even though they are free, can be booked in advance so you can make sure that you will be able to see the show.

Below you will find the list of towns in Girona and the Costa Brava where the tradition of the living nativity scene is most deeply rooted from generation to generation:

Santa Pau (Garrotxa)

December 8 and 9, 2022 at 7:00 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivent de Santa Pau. Arxiu d'Imatges PTCBG

The Santa Pau Living Nativity scene began in 1984 as a school activity for local students. Little by little, over the years, the involvement of the villagers increased until it became a cultural event in the village. The route of the nativity scene is through the historic centre of the old town of Santa Pau and combines biblical scenes, which recreate the events related to the birth of Jesus, and popular scenes, in which ancient trades of the area are represented.

Castell d'Aro (Baix Empordà)

December 17, 18, 25 and 26, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
January 1, 2023 at 7:00 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivent de Castell d'Aro

This is the oldest living nativity scene in Catalonia. The visit takes about an hour and covers a kilometre and a half through the old town of Castell d'Aro and the neighbourhood of La Coma, which has been declared Cultural Heritage. It has been performed since 1959. Tickets can be purchased at the box office every day of the performance from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Brunyola (La Selva)

December 18, 25 and 26, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
January 1, 2023 at 7:00 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivent de Brunyola. Amics de Brunyola

In 1981 a group of young people from the town decided that Brunyola was an idyllic setting to make a living nativity scene. To date, more than 1000 people have participated as extras in the nativity scene. The nativity scene aims to recreate Palestine 2000 years ago. Many lost trades are recreated in the nativity scene. One of the identity elements of the Brunyola nativity scene is the Annunciation, where an Angel welcomes visitors from the Bell Tower. Kids can hand in their letters to the Three Wise Men.

Bàscara (Alt Empordà)

December 18, 25 and 26, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
January 1, 7 and 8, 2023 at 7:00 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivent de Bàscara. Arxiu d'Imatges PTCBG

Bàscara's living nativity scene is divided into two parts: the introduction and the plastic scenes. The introduction takes place in Plaça de l'Església and it is a spectacular preamble in which scenes related to the Nativity are performed with a predominance of movement, light, sound and special effects. During the introduction, the audience does not circulate, they wait at a standstill. Then, the audience begins a tour of the old quarter of Bàscara and along the right bank of the Fluvià river where the characters, motionless and in Hebrew clothing, represent the Nativity and transport the audience to the life of Palestine 2000 years ago.

Pals (Baix Empordà)

December 25 and 26, 2022 from 6 to 8 p.m
January 1, 2023 from 6 to 8 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivent de Pals. Visit Pals

A living nativity scene with more than 200 “actors” and with carefully selected costumes. The tour is through the old quarter of Pals, one of the best preserved mediaeval towns on the Costa Brava.

Joanetes (Garrotxa)

December 25, 2022 at 7:00 p.m
December 26, 2022 at 6:00 p.m
January 1, 2023 at 6:00 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivient de Joanetes

In the mid-1980s it started as a small performance by local school children in the garden of the church rectory. Over the years, it has become a huge stage that leaves no corner of the village unoccupied. The Joanetes Living Nativity Scene involves more than 400 people, including extras and participants as well as livestock such as donkeys, lambs, cows, rabbits, pigs, dogs and roosters. The nativity scene recreates about fifty scenes typical of Christmas but, above all, of the peasant tradition of the area along a route of almost a kilometre through the town and its natural surroundings.

Peralada (Alt Empordà)

December 25 and 26, 2022 at 7:00 p.m
January 1, 2023 at 7:00 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivent de Peralada

The Peralada Living Nativity Scene offers a journey through different scenes of the life of Jesus through the historic centre of the mediaeval town. This nativity scene has been represented since 1981 and has been evolving until today, which is known for the demonstration of ancient trades, such as basket-making, doctors, weaving, spinning, stonemasons, salters, blacksmithing, chestnut-sellers,  bakers among others.

Celrà (Gironès)

December 26, 2022 at 7:00 p.m

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa BravaPhoto: Pessebre Vivent de Celrà

A living nativity scene with more than 30 years of tradition. It takes place in the old part of the town, with the representation of biblical scenes and also with a large representation of traditional trades of the area.

Vila-Sacra (Alt Empordà)

January 7 and 8, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The best Living Nativity Scenes in Girona and the Costa Brava

This nativity scene takes place in the old mediaeval town of Vila-Sacra and involves more than 100 “actors”. Admission is free although we recommend making a reservation (purchase tickets at €0) in order to ensure you can enter and avoid the long queues as the capacity is limited to 500 people per show.

If you like living nativity scenes and their locations, don’t miss our post where we talk about the 10 mediaeval villages of Girona and the Costa Brava.

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