While the image of Christmas for most people are twinkling lights and a bright-nosed reindeer, the Catalan has a different picture when it comes to the yuletide season.
The usual nativity scene is already complete with a baby in the manger, his parents, three wise men, and a bright star. However, using this typical setting in Catalonia is not up to the Catalan holiday standards. Christmas in Catalonia is best celebrated with a display of poo!
Christmas in Catalonia
Christmas in Catalonia, would not be complete without a caganer in the nativity scene. That’s right, a pooping figure is the Catalan nativity scene’s main player. While this might be viewed as inappropriate for non-Catalans, it has been a long-standing tradition in the city.
Caganer designs differ every year. Originally, the figure is that of a peasant dropping his trousers. Now, however, caganer designs depict celebrities, superheroes, and political figures. The rule is that whoever makes the most noise in the media gets the honor of being immortalized as a tiny figure squatting to relieve themselves.
Fertility, Abundance, and Luck
This practice might seem provocative, however, the tradition is more of a symbolic gesture to call for fertility and abundance than a move to offend.
Catalans believe that putting caganers in nativity scenes depict the fertilization of lands. They believe that having a caganer in the nativity display would bring them luck for the upcoming year.
During the season, Catalan families play games tuned with the caganer theme. A member of the family would hide the figure somewhere in the house while the rest of the family looks for it. Whoever finds it gets to hide it again, and so on.
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Yes, it sounds like a fun game but is also symbolic as it portrays having blessed every corner of the house with fertility and abundance.