This is a picture of one of the shepherds, hand carved in wood from my Rwanda crèche.
I wondered what the pointy thing was sticking up from his head. Several of my African Shepherd’s are similarly depicted. I decided to ask my favorite walking encyclopedia and nativity expert, Fr. Roten.
He explained it was the shepherd’s pole which holds up his tent. It would be a small tent, just for one shepherd. These tents are folded and carried on the back, or can be the hooded garment he wears stretched over the pole. This ambulatory dwelling for the night or in the rain, made a shepherd’s lodging portable and practical. There are periods of the year when Rwandan shepherds become nomads. These tents are a necessity!
Glad I asked!
FOTC Board, VP