This year’s caganer
For this year’s caganer, I present to you the one and only Hello Kitty (ハローキティ Harō Kiti?). As you probably know, she is produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, first designed by Ikuko Shimizu. She lives in London, England with her parents and twin sister. The Hello Kitty line has licensing arrangements worth more than $1 billion USD a year in sales. However, I have a suspicion that Terra i Mar didn’t license this particular product.
A caganer is a small statue found in Catalunya and is depicted in the act of defecation. Caganer is Catalan for “shitter”. Traditional Christmas decorations consist of a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to the Nativity scenes of the English-speaking world, but encompassing the entire city rather than just the typical manger scene. The caganer is a particular feature of modern Catalan nativity scenes and often tucked away in a corner of the model.
In addition to the traditional caganer design, you can find other characters assuming the “caganer position”, such as nuns, devils, Santa Claus, celebrities, athletes, historical figures, politicians, Spanish royalty, and other famous people past and present. Caganers introduced this year include Hilary Clinton, Tiger Woods and Homer Simpson along with our beloved Hello Kitty. Just days after his election as US president in 2008, a “shitter” of Barack Obama was made available. And of course that was my caganer for last year. (I add one caganer to my collection each year.)
Back in 2005, the Ajuntament de Barcelona (city council) provoked a public outcry by commissioning a nativity scene which did not include a caganer. Many saw this as an attack on Catalan traditions. The local government countered these criticisms by claiming that the caganer was not included because a recent by-law had made public defecation and urination illegal, meaning that the caganer was now setting a bad example. Following a campaign against this decision called Salvem el caganer (Save the shitter), and widespread media criticism, the 2006 nativity restored the caganer, who appeared on the northern side of the nativity near a dry riverbed.
So here is the revealing backside shot of Hello Kitty that proves that she is indeed a true caganer and not some similar looking figure that can be easily purchased in California, but lacking what counts.
Hello Kitty from the backside
Photographer's note: ExpoDisc used for WB. EXIF info intact.