#Navidad: Why Catalonia celebrates Christmas with someone having a poo

#Navidad: Why Catalonia celebrates Christmas with someone having a poo
Photo: AFP
In the run up to Christmas, The Local explains the unique history behind seasonal Spanish traditions in our own Advent calendar.

The caganers or 'crappers' are a 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.


Photo: AFP

Some families like to use the same figure year after year, often a character that has been passed down through the generations, and quite likely the traditional Catalan figure of a young peasant dressed in white sporting a red barretina and a pipe.

Traditional caganers are made from clay, fired in a kiln and then hand-painted. 


Caganers representing the independence struggle have surged in popularity. Photo: AFP

But as the caganer has evolved into a huge industry and now all sorts of kinds are produced, both in design and material.
 
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, film icons can all be found on the shelves of stalls selling caganers.


We are not amused! Not even the Queen is taboo. Photo: AFP

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 is set to top the crapping charts again in 2020.

Here he is with President elect Joe Biden, who is a frontrunner in the sales for 2020. 


President Trump with his pants down has proved a big seller. Photo: AFP

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  1. The title “Why..” raises expectation that the article would explain the history and reason for this strange tradition. It doesn’t. Why?

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