In all the cribs there are characters who are much more symbolic than others, they are characters that should not be placed at random in the crib because they have a very strong symbolic value that cannot in any way be ignored, we are talking about the shepherds. Obviously the pivotal and central figures of each crib are those that make up the Holy Family, however the shepherds have their very important function and are placed in all cribs, even in the smaller cribs that people usually build at home. never the figure of a shepherd boy who has gone to adoration in the hut or in the cave or who stops near it, they are in fact the first to have gone to adoration by the Child Jesus.
What they symbolize
In each crib the shepherds represent the poorest social stratum of the village but at the same time the purest one. In fact, the poor shepherds, people who live in a simple way without paying much attention to the activities, often not positive, that take place in the village, are the first to understand the importance of the event that is taking place and immediately go to the birthplace of Jesus. They will be the first "guardians" who will guard the place where the unborn child will spend the first days of life, and they will always be the first to adore him, even before the Magi, who according to tradition will arrive only on the occasion of the Epiphany. For the reasons listed, usually a handful of shepherds with their sheep are placed near the hut or cave; each person who creates his own nativity scene can place the number of shepherds he wants but must take care to put them in a peripheral area with respect to the village, in fact there are, as mentioned, those close to the place of birth, but there are others who still they have not been warned and are intent on their duties, namely bringing the flock to pasture. There can be only one shepherd, however, which must be symbolically placed near the cave or hut because he is on his way to adore the Child Jesus. Also to underline the humble origins of Jesus, the figure of St. Joseph over time has taken on the connotations of that of a shepherd, brown and comfortable clothes, a large walking stick used for the very long walk, so St. Joseph is represented despite being actually an ever humble carpenter. Always with the same intent and with the clear intention of showing how the poor class of the population is not without strong religious sentiments, a tradition that has been consolidated over the centuries in the crib (remember that the crib has popular and ancient origins, St. Francis and his order first staged a living nativity scene), even the players are shepherds, who bring out their instruments to celebrate the birth of the Child Jesus
Where to put them
More attention should be paid to the placement of these characters in the crib, we have already talked about it in the lines above, however it is appropriate to deepen the question by emphasizing a particular symbolism. This poor social stratum is the opposition of the richer social strata that inhabit the village and do not realize what is happening, in particular they are in contrast with the characters of the Osteria, who especially in the tradition of the Neapolitan crib are the ones who drink and they celebrate unaware of what is happening and are the symbol of the evils of the world. For this reason the shepherds are outside the village and as I said they are either near the place of birth, or intent on grazing their sheep.
Each region has its own shepherd
Over time, each Italian region has developed its own translation into the nativity scene, and often in the different regions of Italy we can find typical characters, these characters are usually just shepherds who have a particular function. In the Sicilian tradition it is a shepherd boy who first sees the comet, as well as in the secular tradition of the Neapolitan nativity scene Benino, the sleeping character, is also a shepherd boy. Similarly this character is present in other traditions with the name of sleepyhead, while in Tuscany Festoso is the name of a shepherd boy who rejoices at the birth of the Child Jesus.
The Shepherds: The demons
Among the shepherds, however, there are also demons, although not all traditions accept these characters some are used to mixing demons among the shepherds. The demons take the form of these poor people and are represented with extremely ugly faces further disfigured by the sadness for the birth of Jesus.
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Collection of lyrics by Gabriele D'Annunzio is considered the third book of Praise from the sky, the sea, the earth and the heroes. In this collection, man and nature merge and are transfigured thanks to the musicality and allusiveness of the verse and the refinement of the metaphors. The famous poem is an example of this The rain in the pine grove.
September, let's go. It is time to migrate.
Now in the land of Abruzzo my shepherds
leave the pens and go towards the sea:
descend to the wild Adriatic
how green it is like the pastures of the mountains.
They drank deeply at the sources
alpine, that taste of native water
remain in exiled hearts for comfort
that long deceives their thirst on the way.
They have been renovated with verga d’avellano.
And they go along the ancient tratturo to the plain,
almost for a silent river erbal
on the vestiges of the ancient fathers.
O voice of him who first
knows the tremolar of the navy!
Now the littoral is walking along it
the flock. Without change is the air.
Yes, the sun makes the living wool glow
that almost does not diverge from the sand.
Isciaquìo, trampling, sweet noises.
Ah why am I not with my shepherds?
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Almost always, on almost all dog breeds, man is the protagonist of the morphological and characteristic results. This has always represented a limit for dogs, that is, man's best friend who, in a certain sense, is also one of his creatures. But man is known, he is not perfect, therefore in every single dog breed he manipulates, functional or genetic imbalances have always jumped to the eye.
The Shepherd of Central Asia is not one of these, he has very distant origins that are lost in the mists of time, his temper, his character and his majestic physicality has tempered nature. and the latter, unlike man, knows how to do it!
Many pages of literature have been written about its origins (which you can also consult on our site) and it is therefore impossible for us to summarize its essence in a small paragraph.
We limit ourselves to saying that he has more than 6000 years of history, that man has often depended on him for his own survival and that of his people, and that he, in all these millennia, has always courageously accepted to carry out his duties as guardian of properties, defender of the flocks from all the terrible predators of the endless territories of Central Asia. Wolves, bears, tigers, hyenas and everything else that can be encountered in the wild nature has never represented a problem for the shepherds and villagers who had with them a small herd of Central Asian Shepherds, the dogs thought about it. fight them and drive them away. He has survived everything, he has endured wars and cataclysms of all kinds with the dignity of a superior being, now he only has to resist man, or rather, that part of men (fortunately minimal) who believe themselves to be better than nature and who making unforgivable mistakes, they cross this "gift of God" with other races in order to "improve" it.
Nature itself has given it to us, we just have to be so good as to know how to deserve it, he, for his part, is perfect and he is beautiful, we cannot improve it. no one can, so mother nature gave it to us!
The innate patience, the self-confidence, the marked tendency to sense of ownership and the strong territoriality, make this dog the ideal for the guard and defense of property and the family, in fact its task since the origins of its appearance. it has always been to protect livestock from wolves, bears and any other ferocious predators that could be encountered in the vast territories including Central Asia.
This type of use meant that natural selection was very severe with our Asia, giving us a strong but never unnecessarily aggressive dog, imposing but reassuring in its appearance. If we know how to deserve his trust, he will repay us by becoming the most faithful of life companions for us.
THE CHOICE OF THE PUPPY
When you decide to buy a Central Asian Sheepdog puppy, it is assumed that you already have some basic knowledge about this breed. but how do we decide which one is ours among his little brothers?
Absolute certainties do not exist, the best advice is to rely on the breeder, in fact a serious breeder will be able to advise us on the subject that best suits our needs, for example, if we want a dog that must mainly stay in the family with many children and the elderly. , we will avoid choosing the "bully" of the litter, that is, the one who chases and nibbles all his siblings, in fact a very "dominant" temper requires masters with a bit of experience who know how to have a bit of a pulse.
We will carefully avoid buying puppies that have "invisible" parents, that do not have a regular registration with the ENCI, that have not followed an adequate vaccination program and that do not have a healthy and playful appearance.
As soon as you go to visit them they must approach them happy and playful, this is an evident sign that the breeder has given them a good socialization and that the little "rogues" have no character defects that could prevent them from entering their new family.
Let us not allow ourselves to be softened by the puppy who remains on the sidelines intimidated and afraid, such attitudes are often a prelude to serious character defects such as cowardice or (worse) excessive biting dictated by fear, if we have already made the mistake we will turn to a good trainer. , which will help us to correct the deviations of the character. in any case it is right to prevent any problem by carefully choosing our "companion".
The big lie: Central Asia for work and Central Asia for expo
We often receive emails with the question: "Do you select show dogs or working dogs?" This question is good for a lot of dog breeds, but not for the Central Asian Shepherd. A self-respecting dog of this breed is at the same time an incorruptible guardian, an excellent companion and a dog to be judged.
It is offensive for a dog of this breed to carry the label of "working dog" or "show dog": it must be both.
To begin to truly understand the Central Asian Shepherd, it would be enough to have an approach from humble students and not from ridiculous professors. Unfortunately, on this dog we read from many quarters completely flawed personal theories, presented as scientific theorems. They are the result of ignorance or, even worse, of attachment to one's own preconceptions, in spite of studies and publications by TRUE EXPERTS.
An Asian is not only 42 big teeth that are unforgiving, but above all an animal with a great sense of adaptation with an unsuspected sensitivity, which knows how to decide. A good subject of this breed is always capable of evaluating the situation and acting accordingly, both in everyday life (in our garden) and in the sporadic public outings (the Sunday expo).
Beauty is a relative factor, but wanting to pass the morphological correctness of the best subjects as a "defect" is the biggest absurdity that can be done, because morphology goes hand in hand with functionality. Certainly the exhibitions and travel to get there are expensive, so for someone who has only dogs outside the type it is easy to hide behind the "work lines" and escape any confrontation. A Central Asian Shepherd is a brave and responsible guardian, but also IMMENSELY BEAUTIFUL, harmonious and elegant. This is what Nature and its long history as an aid to man have entrusted to us: we must try to live up to it, not personalize it!
Today we are called to focus on the distinction between clean bloodlines and "dirty" bloodlines. In particular, in some lines, the presence of the Saint Bernard, which is not necessarily reflected in large animals, is a sad reality known to many (to almost all breeders). A targeted joint action is now necessary to prevent someone, even unwittingly, from making absolutely deleterious crossings. This chapter appeals to those who really want to preserve the qualities of this breed and above all to the sense of responsibility of the bodies responsible for its protection, from which we expect a concrete commitment in this sense.
Although some breeders are also harming this breed, man has not yet managed to ruin a dog that has always existed and that has characteristics established for millennia. We must hope and act in such a way that it never succeeds.
Christmas Novena 4th Day - THE SHEPHERDS
4th Day - THE SHEPHERDS
Jesus, the shepherds are not only the first "abusive" "not entitled" "excluded" accepted and desired by You. They also belong to the race - I hope not in danger of extinction - of the "creatures of movement" that You favor.
Unfortunately, I have developed the vocation of the sedentary. I continue to crouch beside my little fire, guarding the flock of my placid habits. I sleep in the reassuring warmth of what I know, of what I have read in books. No music of angels can wake me up, shake me, put me on my feet. My faith is static, hope compressed in confined spaces, charity encased in rigid schemes.
A life without leaps, without jolts, vaccinated against the unexpected. All planned, regulated, calculated. No surprises. I don't like movement. No unusual, spontaneous gestures. No decision that expresses a break with customs.
Faced with a tormenting question, I consult a text. When a suspicion or a doubt arises, I start thinking (or unreasoning) to reassure myself. It never occurs to me to rush into the street to look for, explore, discover something unusual that calls into question all the accumulated experience. Provoked by an event, I try to frame it in my mental schemes, in the current mentality, fearing having to review my points of view, principles, fixed points (which are then rather shaky).
I recognize myself in Herod's trusted advisors who, when asked about a sensational event, get agitated and find nothing better than to leaf through their dusty parchments, instead of setting out with those bizarre individuals who have come from afar (Mt 2: 4-6 ).
Jesus, I don't know if in my case the music, the celestial trumpets and the songs of the angels are enough to put me in an upright position, or a strong tug is preferable as some mothers used to throw lazy children out of bed. You decide.
But I would like Christmas to be an opportunity to recover the pleasure of walking.
(Source: Christmas Novena in front of the crib, by Alessandro Pronzato)
Maremma Shepherd: characteristic appearance
The Maremma Shepherd is a dog of big size, from the imposing size and of rustic look. His bearing is majestic, proud and distinguished. The legs they are strong and well developed, powerful trunk, harmonic and endowed with great physical strength. He rarely gets sick and does not suffer from particular pathologies attributable to the breed.
The Maremma shepherd is able to withstand any climatic adversity, hot temperatures such as glacial ones and intense snowfalls. There tail it is low and attached and is only carried to an upright position when the dog is alert. The cloak it is colored White uniform. Nuances are allowed colors ivory or pale orange, provided they are limited in number.
The hair it is abundant and wooly, long and rough to the touch. The eyes they are quite small, dark and cracked. The ears tall, hanging, very mobile and have the typical 'V' shape common to many other shepherd dogs. The shape of the head very reminiscent of that of the white bear.
How to recognize a purebred Maremma shepherd?
It is completely impossible to recognize this breed with certainty on the basis of aesthetic characteristics. Simplifying the matter, if your Maremma shepherd has a pedigree, then it is definitely purebred. If he does not have the pedigree, he is almost certainly not purebred. If he does not have a pedigree, you can try to check (just last resort ...) if both parents have it and for some strange reason it has not been asked for the puppy. Rare, but it happens.
In any case, without pedigree or without pedigreed parents, you can be sure that it is not a purebred Maremma shepherd.
SPECIAL: the most beautiful and interesting dog breeds A Maremma Shepherd mother with her puppy
Health of the Australian Shepherd
Unfortunately, like other sheepdogs, the Australian Shepherd is prone to suffer from various hereditary diseases, including cataract, Collie eye abnormality, hip dysplasia, nasal dermatitis caused by the sun, Pelger-Huet syndrome, coloboma of the iris, lumbosacral syndrome, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand disease , distichiasis and persistent arterial duct.
Additionally, merle-colored dog crosses result in blind and / or deaf puppies. Crosses between dogs with naturally short tails, on the other hand, can result in puppies with serious backbone problems.
However, with regular veterinary checks and by taking care of the dog carefully it will be possible to prevent some diseases. It will also be essential to respect the dog's vaccination calendar and carry out antiparasitic treatments.