1. noun, refers to a representation of the Christian manger scene, following the birth of Jesus Christ, A creche includes images of the infant Jesus (in a manger), The Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph. Usually one will also find any number of cattle, asses or horses, sheep, shepherds, chickens, doves, and a very specific number of kings or wise men (three).

This scene is a very common one in Christianity across cultures. Who can't relate to a mother and child? It is kind of funny how each culture realizes the creche. For instance, when I was little, my mother received a nativity scene that was hand-carved in Africa. Instead of the usual Western animals, there was one each, of the animals one would find on a Kenyan safari: giraffe, lion, tiger, wildebeast, rhino and so on. Some of these were rendered in all of the their fiercest glory. It really made things much more intersting for my brother and me; kind of a Christmas in Africa Wild Predator and Prey Action Set(TM). Snarl! Leap! Hunt! Compete for Space at the Water Hole! So cool.

On the more bizarre side, is the tendency for some churches (We're back in the West now.) to sponsor living nativities, where a bunch of people borrow some couple's newborn, dress up in bathrobes and towels, enjoin the local petting zoo to part with a camel or donkey or two, and place themselves out on the front lawn in a pile of hay, for a few evenings in late December. They just stand around.

What a pain in the butt!

2. noun, a hospital for abandoned children

Creche (kr?sh), n. [F.]

A public nursery, where the young children of poor women are cared for during the day, while their mothers are at work.


© Webster 1913.

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