Like the Tió de Nadal, el Caganer (the shitter – no kidding!) is symbolic of a Catalan Christmas. The Caganer is so important that he has become part of the Nativity scene, albeit normally tucked away at the back and you’ll even find him in the cathedral.
It’s thought that el Caganer dates back to the 17th or 18th Century and has been a feature in the Nativity since that time. He wears traditional Catalan peasant clothes, including a barretina (red hat). Whilst this may seem blasphemic, el Caganer is seen to represent fertility and is tolerated by the Catholic church.
I first came across el Caganer 30 years ago in the Barcelona Fira de Santa Llúcia (Christmas Market), in front of the cathedral. The traders there had neat little rows of Nativity figures of varying quality and next to Mary, Jesus, Joseph and the animals, was the Caganer above. I was pleasantly surprised …and these days there are Caganer representations of the Pope, Madonna, the President (Spanish and American), Boris Johnson, Queen Elizabeth II (and now King Charles), Batman, R2D2, Gollum and most types of trades person – the list is endless, but you haven’t “arrived” unless you are on it! In 2010, I was amazed to find a 19 foot Caganer in the Maremagnum Shopping Centre in the port of Barcelona and during the Covid pandemic, many of the Caganers wore masks!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Menja bé, caga fort i no tinguis por a la mort – Eat well, shit hard and don’t fear death!
God Jul Mad Dog.
Thanks Ron and the same to you!
Bon Nadal, Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas Mad Dog. 😊
Thanks Karen and the same to you!
What a hilarious tradition, MD! Never knew about this little tike, lol. Merry Christmas to you and yours1
Thanks Frank, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas!
Wow — I had no idea El Caganer existed. But now I have a favorite motto! Menja bé, caga fort i no tinguis por a la mort! Brilliant.
Thanks David – that is a genuine Catalan expression too!
Wow, this blows me away! So interesting.
I know! I couldn’t believe it myself when I first encountered the Caganer.
Happy New Year! Looking forward to your posts in the new year!
Thanks for sharing with us about Cagier-interesting to know.
Thanks Velva – Happy New Year!