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El Caganer - The "defecator" a catalan Tradition

Travel Forums General Talk El Caganer - The "defecator" a catalan Tradition

1. Posted by Catala (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y

Caganer (See picture below)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A Caganer is a little statue unique to Catalonia, Spain, and neighbouring areas with Catalan influence such as Andorra.

In Catalonia, as in most of Spain, the traditional Christmas decoration is a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to American Nativity scenes that encompasses the entire city rather than just the typical manger scene. The Catalans have added an extra character that is not found in the manger scenes of any other culture. In addition to Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds and company, Catalans have the character known as the Caganer. This extra little character is often tucked away in some corner of the model, typically nowhere near the manger scene, where he is not easily noticed. There is a good reason for his obscure position in the display, for "caganer" translates from Catalan to English as "defecator", and that is exactly what this little statue is doing — defecating.

The reasons for placing a man who is in the act of excreting solid waste from his posterior in a scene which is widely considered holy are as follows:

The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. Thus, he is considered a symbol of prosperity and luck for the coming year.
Finding the Caganer is a fun game, especially for children.
The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 18th century. Originally, the Caganer was portrayed as an eastern peasant wearing a traditional hat called a barretina — a red stocking hat with a black band.

The Catalans have modified this tradition somewhat since the 1940s. In addition to the traditional caganer design, you can easily 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, including Pope John Paul II, Salvador Dalí, prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Princess Letizia and even Osama bin Laden.

The practice is tolerated by the local Catholic church. Caganers are easiest to find before Christmas in holiday markets, like the one in front of the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, which has tables and tables of caganers. Caganers have even been featured in art exhibits.

The caganer is not the only defecating character in the Catalan Christmas tradition—another is the Tió de Nadal, which also makes extensive use of the image of human waste production. Other mentions of feces and defecation are common in Catalan folklore. One popular Catalan phrase before eating says "menja bé, caga fort!" (Eat well, shit strong!).

Synonyms in other languages/cultures:

In Dutch / Flemish : Kakkers / Schijterkes
In French : Père la Colique
In German : Choleramännchen

More Info about Catalonia:

I have chosen to leave this thread and remove the link to the website. I have looked at your site and it sits on that fine line between promotional and personal. I am also leaving it because it has been responded to by Sander, who is a Respected Memeber and knows the rules very well. Administration may decide differently than I have and delete the thread completely. But for the time being, I am allowing it to remain without the link.

[ Edit: Removed website link. ]

2. Posted by Catala (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y

Ok, but it's not spam, the link you found in the post is my personal site. It's not a commercial site at all.

We can post personal non commercial site, can't we?

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4896 posts) 11y

Far too many of such "personal" sites turn out to be spam, so unless a link by someone who isn't a "full member" directly answers someone else's question, it's not allowed. (See the rules: "NO website postings for promotional purposes are permitted.", as well as how the link was snipped from your previous thread.)
Once you've been active on the site for a while and have shown that you have more purpose in your postings than promoting a single site, the rules will be more relaxed.

4. Posted by Catala (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y


Ok, it's a reasable rule. So, could you or someone else post my topic once again without the link?.

It is a tradition from Catalonia, something very original that might be interesting for many people, specially in a forum for travelers.

Thank you

5. Posted by Catala (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y

Ok, but there is not any promotional interest at all in my personal site. It is just a site for those who want to know more about Catalonia, there's no advertising at all and therefore no profit.

I'm glad you posted the topic once again.

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Catala - I am the one who edited your thread. It didn't need to be reposted, just the link removed. I also understand what you are saying, but I stay with my original decision. Thanks for your understanding.

Isadora - Moderator

7. Posted by Catala (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y

Quoting Isadora

Catala - I am the one who edited your thread. It didn't need to be reposted, just the link removed. I also understand what you are saying, but I stay with my original decision. Thanks for your understanding.

Isadora - Moderator


Thanks for your answer. I will be carreful not to post links, no problem :)