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November 30, 2022

The Caganer: A Weird Tradition in the Catalan Christmas Culture

Every country across the world has its own unique Christmas traditions and Spain is no exception! Spain is a country full of unique customs, and some of them may surprise you.


A weird tradition in the Catalan Christmas culture is the Caganer. The name “El Caganer” literally means “the pooper.” It basically is a feature of the nativity scene that you only see in this region. It is a figure of a Catalan man that is wearing traditional Catalan clothes. He is squatting with his trousers around his ankles and pooing. This weird custom has been around since the very 18th century. His poo is basically a sign of good luck. This comes from believing that it fertilizes the earth and ensures a good harvest for the upcoming year.

In fact, during 17th century, Spain monarchy was decaying. During that period Felipe II just started conflicts for whose expenses he had drawn mainly on the precious metals of the American colonies. Now, that these resources were exhausted, the Spanish economy needed to depend still on breeding and large expanses of uncultivated land.

This is why the Caganer was considered as a lucky gift: he could have tourned that uncultivated lands into perfectly fertilized lands! You can find a figure of the Caganer everywhere in the city during the holiday season. Since it is such a funny custom, they now make those with faces of politicians, celebrities and other famous figures.







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