The Caganer's history
The caganer is a typical Catalan Christmas figure characterized by its cheeky position in the nativity scene. Amid this tradition, we usually spot a crouched man more or less hidden answering the call of Nature outdoors. It is said that not exhibiting him brings misfortune since his feces fertilize the ground and also bring luck and happiness for the year ahead. This is the reason why all the versions you can find in our website pay tribute to what they represent while wishing them well.
The figure of the caganer can not be pictured without the nativity scene —a plastic representation of the birth of Jesus that started with monumental statues but was gradually introduced in homes. Initially, the intention was to illustrate the traditional elements that were part of this moment —shepherds, angels, the Three Wise Kings, poultry, a herdboy, the river, a caganer— in order to bring this world of happiness and Christmas to the everyday life of the families. Nevertheless, although adding the caganer is a Catalan and Valencian tradition, we can also find those little fellows in Murcia, Naples and Portugal under the name of cacones, pastore che caca i cagoes, respectively.
Tradicionally, the caganer wears a barretina (typical Catalan hat) and holds a pipe in his mouth, but over the years this tiny fellow has evolved to the extent that nowadays we find models of celebrities, politicians, actors, musicians and football players, as well as caganers dedicated to towns, to distant traditions, to jobs, and to animals. As a curious fact, the caganer is not the only Catalan character that defecates: we can not forget about the Tió, a log that lives under the Christmas Tree and needs to be fed until Christmas Eve so that he can “pass” a few gifts thanks to the songs and blows the children provide him with.