Your No. 2 favorite Christmas tradition
December 12, 2011 7:35 PM Subscribe
No Nativity scene is complete without the caganer
- a figure caught in the act of taking a dump near the manger. (NSFW tag, ahoy!)
The figurine (whose name translates as "the shitter") is an addition to the Nativity tableaus in the Catalonia
region of Spain. Some interpret the caganer as a reminder that God can arrive on earth at any moment - and he doesn't care if he catches you with your britches down.
The caganer figure is deeply rooted in the national identity of many Catalan people. Journalist Josep Pernau suggested the caganer should replace Cobi
as the mascot for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. He declared: "better a plump caganer
with full thighs than a 'designer dog,'" which earned him special recognition
by the the Friends of the Caganer
, an association (ass-ociation?) dedicated to keeping the tradition alive.
In 2005, Barcelona administrators banned the figure
from that year's Nativity display, to encourage compliance with a recent city-wide law against public defecation. Massive protests forced the city to restore the caganer for the 2006 season.
Traditional caganer figures are dressed in the garb of a Catalan peasant
, but you can collect any number of personas: Santa Claus
; Papa Smurf
; a wide variety of politicians
, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Silvio Berlusconi; Darth Vader
; or a Playmobil-styled caganer
to match the Playmobil Nativity playset
on metafilter, and previouslier