SOMETHING you certainly don’t see in the UK at Christmas time is the traditional Caganer. And particularly if it is the Pope.

Originally from Catalonia, this small statue of someone defecating, can be found all over Spain, Portugal and Italy, usually as part of a larger nativity scene.

Although the exact origin is not known, it has existed since the 17th century and there are different theories as to its meaning. Some say it symbolizes fertilizing the earth, others that it’s a reminder we are all equal, or it’s simply seen as a fun spectacle.

Originally, the Caganer was portrayed as a Catalan peasant but more recently celebrities, politicians and royalty have been used. They even include the British Queen and in 2008, the honour went to Barack Obama after his election win.

This year’s honoured celebrities were even more controversial perhaps with the Pope getting the nod, along with Catalan demi-god Lionel Messi.

Karl Smallman

About Karl Smallman

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