The ‘caganer’, a cult figure of the nativity scene

It is the star of the nativity scene, but we hide him well hidden, often behind the birth of Jesus. The ‘caganer’ is the nativity scene figure that best sums up this Catalan obsession with scatology. Agent Mònica Cornudella explains the history of this cult figure.


Versions have been made of all the famous Catalans and from all over the world, and some people collect them, but normally the ‘caganer’ wears a ‘barretina’ [a typical Catalan hat], a white shirt, dark trousers and a sash, usually representing a peasant or a shepherd. He is one of the most endearing figures in the nativity scene, and often acts, within the bucolic setting, a bit like Wally from the ‘Where’s Wally?’ books: everyone has fun looking where he must be hidden.

Historians explain that the figure of the ‘caganer’ appears in Catalan nativity scenes from the 17th century onwards. However, it did not become popular until the 19th century. The tradition of the ‘caganer’, despite the obvious scatology, is widely accepted by the Church. Although it is not known why the Catalans decided to place a figure shitting in the middle of the nativity scene, the collective imagination has agreed that he fertilises the earth for the whole year with his excrement. Whatever the origin of the ‘caganer’, it is worth knowing more curiosities about the figure in the video below.

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  1. Daniela SimónDaniela Simón says:
  2. Pere SorianoPere Soriano says:

    Bon detall cultural. Gràcies

  3. Joaquin Lopez ArandaJoaquin Lopez Aranda says:

    Molt interessant.

  4. alicia Coiduras Charlesalicia Coiduras Charles says:

    Una tradició de les moltes que cal conèixer

    • Jordi Oller says:

      Així és Alícia, una de les nostres tradicions al pessebre. Ens veiem a La Plaça.

      2 years ago
  5. Manuel Bullich BuenoManuel Bullich Bueno says:
  6. Francesc Estafanell PujolFrancesc Estafanell Pujol says:
    Francesc de Borja

    Per mi, el caganer és un toc de realitat en el paisatge idealitzat del naixemet.

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Jajaja, i també en la vida i la societat actual, i sobretot pels polítics, que són dignes de ben poca cosa… Moltes ganes pel teu comentari, Francesc!!!

      2 years ago
  7. Josep RuaixJosep Ruaix says:
  8. Mercè ComasMercè Comas says:

    Seguint amb les tradicions, molt bé!

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Doncs sí, formen part de la nostra cultura. Moltes gràcies pel teu comentari, Mercè!!!

      2 years ago
  9. Joan Santacruz CarlúsJoan Santacruz Carlús says:

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