The Fira de Santa Llúcia is a large seasonal craft fair in front of and around the Barcelona cathedral. There are probably two-hundred booths filled with everything from trees and other greenery, nativity scene figures, and artisan crafts such as weaving, jewelry and soap making.
I went last year and bought a couple of caganers (“shitters”) to start a collection—one for each year that I have spent Xmas here. (This year’s purchase will be the subject of a future post.) Here is a few of the many available. There is even a company that produces caganers using contemporary figures, mainly politicians and sports figures.
Mainly traditional caganers.
Christmas trees are probably not as popular here as in the States and they are smaller than the trees I remember. There are also wreathes and mistletoe, typically with berries. An interesting combination are these brujas or witches, some with mistletoe. Also note the patriotic nature of those that have ribbon in the form of the Senyera or Catalán flag (yellow and red stripes).
Santa Claus is not Spanish or Catalán at all, he’s American. A more European figure is Papá Noel. He’s not as “robust” as Santa and often is smoking a pipe. Sometimes he wears the traditional Catalán hat called the barretina. But this is a modern adaptation.
People here often hang a Santa climbing up a rope or ladder from their roof or a window. Fireplaces aren’t as common here in Spain as in the States, so Santa has to climb through a window. Here’s a picture showing a few of the many styles that are available here.
Along with caganers, the Caga Tió (“shit log”) is another Catalán tradition. They come in a variety of sizes. Alcampo, where I usually do my grocery shopping, has been selling them for a few weeks, so they definitely are popular and not just “traditional”.
Smaller Caga Tiós.
There is a giant Caga Tió that is used much like a department store or shopping mall Santa. I took a picture of it before there was long line of children waiting to beat some “shit” out of it. I´ll have more to say about this tradition in my next post.
A really big "shit log".
Finally, the most interesting thing for me at the Fira was an artisan who made jabon de Castila (Castile Soap) using olive oil as the basic ingredient. He had various varieties of hand-made soap with additions such as oatmeal and sesame oil. There were a number of pictures that showed how the process of how the soap was made and formed.