The traditional Christmas nativity scene or ‘pessebre’, is still very much alive and kicking in Catalonia… but what every Catalan child is really looking for is that bare bottomed bounder, the ‘caganer’
Caganer.com is becoming more and more well known for these caganers!
Amongst others, you can now purchase for your nativity scene……David Bowie, The Queen, Sarah Palin, Shakira, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Tintin, Spiderman, the Dalai Lama, Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bono from U2, Elton John, Madonna, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Marilyn Monroe…..
In fact, all manner of politicians, sports stars and celebrities are now given the dubious honour of being turned into a ‘caganer’.
A popular and much loved Catalan Christmas figure, this small statue, originally of a pooping peasant wearing traditional floppy red Catalan cap (barretina), crouches with trousers half down, in a ‘toilet’ position, making his small contribution to the land.
He might be smoking a pipe or reading a newspaper to better pass the time!
Often hidden behind a tree, or round the back of the stable, the fun is to find the cheeky chappie, symbol of fertility, hope and prosperity, health and happiness for the coming year.
Originally men only, one early caganer scene showed the wife waiting at her husband’s side to wipe his bottom.
Today, liberated women are represented by ‘caganeras’ and are crafted to wipe their own bottoms!!
Other figures were also added over time to the peasant…. washerwomen, shepherds, fishermen….,. Today, modern caganers may represent almost anybody.
William, Kate, Che Guevara, Madonna and Michael Jackson squat next to the Pope. Elvis, Ronaldo, Tiger Woods and the Queen crouch nearby. Contraversial? Maybe. Disrespectful? Not at all.
Marc Alos Pla for the company www.caganer.com who craft these unusual and novelty caganers by hand, explains, “They are by no means intended to mock the personalities but rather to pay tribute to them”
The family run business in Girona create these bare bottomed personalities with affectionate irreverence, re-thought each year to represent well known personalities and current affairs.
The exact origin of the Caganer has been lost over the years but the tradition is known to have existed since the 17th century.
When Barcelona Council cut the caganer from the public nativity scene in the early 2000s, public outcry and media support quickly had the bare derrière reinstated, proof of its timeless popularity.
Some say that this uninhibited little figure is ‘fertilizing’ the land to ensure a rich and successful harvest, others that he represents equality, in that we are all equal when it comes to biological functions.
All agree that he or she symbolises good luck for the coming year.
|If you’re looking for an unusual Christmas or Easter present, visit www.caganer.com and order from a variety of celebrity caganers.|