For those of you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that each year I add to my collection of caganers. I normally frown on having acumuladores de polvo, but I have made an exception and collect little “shitters”, one for each year that I spend Christmas in Catalunya.
The caganer is a traditional Catalán nativity figure. It was almost an obligatory figure in the nativity scenes of the 18th century. People at that time used to say that with his fertile “deposits” the soil would be made rich and productive for the coming year, and that he would also bring good health and calm to the body and the soul. To put this figure in the nativity was to bring luck and happiness, not to bring misfortune.
I have asked Ruben and his friend Ángel, both from families living several generations in Catalunya, about the word “caganer”. They both said that it is not polite, otherwise the figure might be called a defecador. So I will continue to call them shitters out of proper respect.
There is even a company, Terra i Mar (“Earth and Sea”), which creates both traditional and contemporary ceramic caganers. You can see them at many places that sell nativity figures, even at El Corte Inglés. Here is a little clip showing their wares:
Yesterday Ruben and I went shopping at the Fira de Santa Llúcia next to the Barcelona cathedral. This year I wanted to buy a caganer of Sarah Palin. We thought we saw one in a display, but it turned out to be Carla Bruni. So I had to settle for Barak Obama instead. And here he is:
Barak Obama caganer.
Just to prove that this a real caganer, here is Barak from the backside:
Barak, a true caganer.