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US ELECTION

Trump and Biden go head to head in Spain’s bizarre Christmas tradition

The winner of the US presidential race is still not clear but across the Atlantic in Spain another battle is being fought out between Trump and Biden.

Trump and Biden go head to head in Spain’s bizarre Christmas tradition
Photos: AFP

The pair are competing to appear on top of the best seller list of this year’s caganer figurines, a bizarre Christmas tradition in the Spanish region of Catalonia.

Known as “caganers” – which translates as “poopers” or “crappers” in English –   the clay figurines area popular nativity scene decoration in Catalonia, where a defecating figure perched behind Mary and Joseph is said to symbolize fertilization, as well as bringing luck and prosperity for the year ahead.

Visit any Catalan home at Christmas and you will find what appears to be an interloper hiding among the traditional figures around the crib in the nativity scene.

Joseph and Mary will be in pride of place around the manger gazing adoringly at baby Jesus in the nativity scene or Belén that is traditionally set up in many homes at Christmas.

The three Kings will likely be in attendance, along with a group of shepherds and a set of traditional farmyard animals.

But look closer and you will spy a figure squatting with pants down, bare bottom raised over a little brown pile of poo – glance up at the face and chances are it's a figure you recognise.

There is a growing trend to purchase a new figure each year – a trend that is proving profitable for a handful of artisans who produce the figures each year.

Modern crappers represent public figures of the moment, from politicians to sporting heroes. 

Cartoon characters, literary figures and film icons can all be found on the shelves of stalls selling caganers.

No-one is above the cheeky satire that sees celebrities bare their bottoms and perform a call of nature from Queen Elizabeth II to Pope Francis.

Not surprisingly, the Donald Trump figure has been a best-seller for the last few years. And this year he is joined by a new figure in the form of presidential challenger Joe Biden.

Versions have been designed of them both with and without facemasks and of course with their trousers pulled down and their bottoms bare.

In further reference to the coronavirus pandemic, another new figure has been especially created this year.

Fernando Simón, the epidemiologist who as Spain’s health emergency chief has led the daily press conferences reporting on the evolution of the virus in Spain is expected to be among the best-sellers in 2020.


Photos: caganer.com

Figures representing healthcare workers also appear in the caganer.com catalogue in recognition of the valuable role they have played this year. 

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US ELECTION

PM Sanchez hails Biden win as good for Spain and EU

Spain's prime minister on Tuesday hailed Joe Biden's presidential election win in the United States, saying it was "very good news for Spain and the European Union".

PM Sanchez hails Biden win as good for Spain and EU
Photo: AFP

The Democrat, who is to replace Republican Donald Trump as US president in January, is seen as more sympathetic to Europe and more of a multilateralist on trade and international affairs.

“I think this is very good news for Spain and the European Union after four complex and difficult years which we have had with the outgoing (Trump) administration,” said Pedro Sanchez during a debate in the Senate when asked about the outcome of the US election.   

The socialist prime minister recalled that Trump had “raised tariffs which affected important sectors of our economy such as the agro-industry”.   

“We are all very aware of what happened during the last four years.. with respect to the European Union,” Sanchez said.

As the world's largest olive and olive oil producing country, Spain was hit hard when Washington imposed duties of around 35 percent on black Spanish olives in 2018 after saying they were being sold too cheaply and benefited from unfair subsidies that hurt US producers.   

The Trump administration also imposed stiff import tariffs on several other European agricultural products, including Spanish olive oil, wine and cheese, in a long-running spat over subsidies to planemaker Airbus.

In addition, Washington slapped tariffs on EU steel and aluminium and constantly waved a threat of levies against Germany's world-leading auto industry.

Sanchez had tweeted his congratulations when Biden's victory became apparent.

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