Tuesday, December 13, 2011

El Caganer - a very ehm ... "special" Christmas tradition!

The Caganer, is very central in Catalonian (the region where Barcelona is) Christmas preparations and celebrations. He is an essential part of every Portal de Belen, the nativity scene.

So what is a Caganer? A sheep? A shephard? An angel? One of the wise men?
The Caganer is a man crouching with his pants down, and ... defecating.

Yes, I am not kidding. In every nativity scene, there he is. With a big brown "lump" under his behind.

When I first heard about it, I thought it was a joke. There wasn't space for this in a nativity scene in my head. But then the nativity scenes started popping up here and there, there he was, in every single one of them. And all the shops selling parts of nativity scenes also sells different versions of the Caganer.

So, why and how did this become a normal thing to put in a nativity scene?
The origen of it is lost, but they think it stems from the early 18th century, and that it symbolizes prosperity in that feces ferment the soil and will then give a successfull harvest the next year. To place a caganer in the nativity scene was to bring luck and happiness, and the contrary would bring misfortune. This tradition is completely accepted by the Catholic church.   ...

Traditional Caganer, (source)
The picture is of the traditional Caganer, but you can find Caganers in all sorts of editions, nuns, devils, Santa Clause, celebrities, politicians, athletes etc. At the Christmas market there are several stalls dedicated only to Caganers in all variety. 

So, what do you think of this?


  1. I have absolutely no idea what to think of that!

  2. Okay, I love this. It's just too random and these are the sorts of things that fascinate me.

    And I sort of want one now. Must get myself to Spain to purchase small pooping figure...

  3. På italiensk ville jeg si: Che schifo!!! (Så EKKELT!)

    Har aldri hørt om denne figuren i italiensk julekrybbe-tradisjon, så han er kanskje veldig, veldig Katalansk?

  4. Haha Krysten :) Me neither..

    And Brooke, haha you like it! There is a wide selection of pooping figures for sale these days, so go ahead ;)

    Foreigner, han er nok kanskje veldig, veldig katalansk ja. (+ et par andre steder i Spania visstnok)

  5. This reminds me a little bit of the Tio de Nadal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ti%C3%B3_de_Nadal

  6. Iris, I have a post planned about Tío de Nadal too :) He's also shitting...what's wrong here?? hehe

  7. Hahahaha, seriøst? :)