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El Caganer

An unusual Catalan tradition—a defecating man in a nativity scene

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The figure of caganer is very popular on Christmas in Catalonia. Like other Christians, Catalonians celebrate the holiday by building a model of Bethlehem reflecting the nativity scene. Sometimes it's possible to see how in a small corner of the model one of the characters is defecating. Some say that this figure is referring to equality of all humans, others say it's just a joke.

El Caganer is usually depicted as a peasant. He is wearing the barretina, a Catalan red hat. His trousers are usually down, showing some of his back while he is defecating. This figure has been observed in Catalonia at least since the 18th century. When visiting Barcelona during Christmas time, don't forget to buy a little caganer as a souvenir for yourself.

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