Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter Traditions and Holidays Part 17 - Caganer

Caganer ("the crapper" or "the shitter")

  • http://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=OIP.M9a22e9ba7e451ba4839e8edb65ded4dbo0&w=203&h=249&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0&r=0In Spain, Italy and Southern France, traditional Christmas decorations often consist of a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to the Nativity scenes but encompassing the entire city
  • Caganer is a deficating figurine who is included in this scene
  • Traditionally, he is depicted as a peasant, wearing a traditional Catalan red cap and with his trousers down, showing a bare backside, and defecating. 
  • Children will often be sent to find the hidden figure.
  • The exact origin of the Caganer is unknown, but the tradition has existed since at least the 18th century.
  • Possible interpretations
    • The Caganer, fertilized the nativity scenes, to ensure the nativity scene for the following year. Placing this figurine in the nativity scene brought good luck and joy and not doing so might bring adversity.
    • Many modern caganers represent celebrities and authority figures. By representing them with their pants down, the Caganer serves as a leveling device to bring the mighty down.
    • He symbolizes the "Other" who represents the spoilsport that we all have inside of us.
  • Another defecating character is the Tió de Nadal, who is a log with a face painted on it, which, having been "fed" for several weeks, is told to defecate on Christmas Eve and "magically" produces candy for children
  • In 2005, the Barcelona city council provoked a public outcry by commissioning a nativity scene which did not include a caganer. The local government was reported to have countered these criticisms by claiming that the Caganer was not included because a civility ordinance had made public defecation and public urination illegal, meaning that the caganer was now setting a bad example

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