THEY are as much a part of Christmas in Catalonia as the pessebre, or nativity scene.
Now these curious figures, which depict everyone from Boris Johnson, Leo Messi, Joe Biden and even Queen Elizabeth II baring their bottoms to squat down and do their business, will be celebrated the year round at the world’s first caganers shop in Barcelona.
Some 530 defecating figures will be on display for sale, to show off their remarkable history and to demonstrate how they are made.
“To open a shop is the culmination of nearly 30 years of our career and as a recognition to our parents,” said Marc and Sergi Alos (pictured below), respectively the sculptor and sales director of Caganer.com, the family-run company which has produced the figures for the past 29 years.
“We realised that it was necessary to have an establishment like this because until now you could only find the caganers in little stands or at fair at Christmas or in our factory.”
They added: “It will be an oasis for the caganer where all year round there will be figures that we have created. Visitors can come and see how we have created the figures and the utensils we use.”
Other figures which have been created by the company include Fernando Simon, Spain’s health emergency chief, who has been the face of the coronavirus crisis, and Rosalia, the Spanish singer.
“The caganer is not just something for Christmas. Little by little, we are converting it into a typical souvenir that a tourist can take as a memory of Catalonia,” added the Alos brothers.
The new shop is in Calle Banys Nous in Barcelona’s Barrio Gotico, an area which is normally full of tourists.
The roots of the caganer tradition are vague but believed to date from around the late 17th century or early 18th century when the fashion at the time in Catalonia was for realism in art, sculpture and literature.
The tradition survived perhaps because the idea of defecating has been linked to good luck or prosperity or good health.
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