The history of Pistachié

As Christmas approaches, we obviously think of the decorations that will brighten up our interior and create that festive spirit that makes this period so special. Apart from the Christmas tree and the various light garlands, the crib also holds an important place in the decoration of the house for Christmas. Highly symbolic, it is traditionally honored in Christian homes. Today in all shapes and sizes, the nativity scene can be from the simplest to the most impressive, but generally retains its main characters. We of course find Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the donkey, the ox, the Three Kings and the shepherds but also l e Pistachio . Less known throughout France, this santon is widely represented in the traditional Provencal cribs . Discover its history.

Pistachié, an emblematic santon of the Provençal crib

The history of Pistachio

If you don't live in Provence, it's unlikely that you've heard of Pistachie. Anchored in the Provençal tradition, this very particular santon represents a farm hand. If he is particularly different from the other characters in the manger, it is not especially for his appearance but more for his character. Indeed, unlike the shepherds, the Three Kings and the characters of the Nativity, the Pistachio is very far from leading a holy life. Some agree that he was a womanizer, others a coward or a drunkard. You will understand, this latter is very far from corresponding to the idea that one can have of the characters present around the baby Jesus at his birth. Yet it is there and it holds an important place.

If it is also described as a little naive, the Pistachio is no less generous and brings to the crib a basket filled with various food. Mention is made in particular of cod, sausages, fouguasses or even oil pump (a traditional dessert from Provence made with oil and orange blossom).

Married to a fishmonger, the Pistachie has a passion for hunting but has little talent for this activity. Also, he returns most of the time empty-handed because of his clumsiness. However, for the birth of Jesus, a miracle occurs and he manages to chase a hare on his way to the manger. He then decides to bring it as an offering.

The representation of Pistachio

Over the years and according to the trends, its representation may vary. We see him most of the time wearing a lantern and a seal and dressed in an outfit most often neglected with a shirt and pants held by a single strap.

Not to be confused with the character of Ravi

It is common to confuse the santon of Pistachio with the character of Ravi. However, these two figures of the crib have their own characteristics and their different roles. Ravi is known to be the village idiot but his presence brings good luck. Penniless, this traditional Provencal nativity scene has nothing to offer but shows its joy by being present at the birth of Jesus. Often represented with arms raised in the sky, he is not initially a believer but the birth of Christ awakens in him a feeling of rapture.