The nativity scene tradition has been preserved in Altötting for more than 400 years and is inseparably linked to the Christmas season. Initially, nativity scenes used to be a "pedagogical instrument" mainly used by the Jesuits in their pastoral ministry. Legend has it that the first ever nativity scene shown in Altötting was as far back as 1601. This beautiful custom is still observed today, and there are numerous lovingly designed annual nativity scenes in the Stiftspfarrkirche and the Friedhofskirche St. Michael. At the town hall you can see an impressive nativity scene presented by the town with figurines dressed in local costumes. Also, a wooden nativity scene greets the numerous visitors in front of the basilica each year.