Mepkin Abbey Creche Festival

Mepkin AbbeyEvery year my family and a group of friends go to the Mepkin Abbey Creche Festival.  It’s the way we start our holiday every year.

What is Mepkin Abbey?

Mepkin Abbey is a Trappist monastery near Moncks Corner.  Roman Catholic monks established a community in 1949 on the site of the historic Mepkin Plantation located on the Cooper River, north of Charleston. Following The Rule of St. Benedict, the monks at Mepkin Abbey devote their lives to prayer, spiritual study, work, and hospitality.  Living by the work of their hands, the monks provide a livelihood for themselves and the poor.

What is a Creche?

A creche is a scene or piece of art representing the scene of Jesus Christ’s birth.  Most likely you’ve heard it called a Nativity Scene.  Many homes around the world display them every year.

Why the Creche Festival?

Mepkin Abbey has collected hundreds of creches over the years and displays a small number of them every year.  This year there were 128.  The monastery owns hundreds of creches that they rotate on display every year.  Private collectors also lend them to the monastery for the festival.  Either way, they are magnificent.  Artists from all over the world have been on display at Mepkin.  It’s interesting to get a glimpse of how other nations and cultures view the birth of Christ.  View the pictures below and you’ll definitely see what I mean.

One year a creche was displayed that was carved from a match stick.  One match stick.  They had a magnifying glass so you could see all the intricate detail.  Others are so large they are displayed outside.  One made of scrap metal, coils and concrete is on permanent display at the monastery.  There are pictures of that one below.  Every year the visitors vote for their favorite ones.  Check out the top five from this year here.

This year the festival is over but if you’re interested in going next year, you will need to pre-order tickets starting in October.  The free tickets go quickly.  Below are some pictures I took from this year’s festival.

If you’re looking for some other things to do this winter, check out the Middleton Camellia Walk.  Here’s a post from last year, it’ll be coming up again in January.