He came into a sh*tty world

I'm sorting Christmassy things and found the nativity set with Mary, Joseph, a manger, shepherds, wise men, a donkey and sheep. It did have the Baby, but sadly he got eaten by our dog c. 1991 and hasn't been replaced. On Christmas Eve I place a small cross on the manger, to represent Jesus. It is one of our Christmas traditions.  This year I'm tempted to add an 'El Caganer', such as this one - a Catalonian tradition. You can see what he's doing. That would give the grandchildren a great giggle.

Since the 17th century in the area of Catalonia, Spain, nativity scenes (or even nativity plays) include the figure of someone in the act of defecation. This was often a peasant, but now you can buy them in many forms, including public figures like footballers, politicians, religious people and royalty. 'El Caganer' (literally 'the shitter' or 'the crapper') is usually placed discreetly hidden behind a bush or other characters. Then children can have fun finding the 'rude' figurine in the 'holy' scene. There are various explanations for what this figure represents. You could just enjoy it as a figure of fun. Or a reality check amid the sanitised and romanticised Christmas carols and pictures.

I say this with reverence - Jesus was born into a world where everyone does what El Caganar is doing, including Jesus. If Jesus was laid as a baby in a manger, then the smell of manure was not far away. Someone had to do the daily mucking out. And manure (including human faeces) is good muck, rich in food to spread on the fields, fertilise the earth and so bring forth new life. 'El Caganer' really does bring down to earth the words many of us will hear again this Christmas, from the first chapter of John's Gospel
"and the Word was made flesh and lived among us".


  1. That's funny. I must look out for an "El Cagener."

  2. Thanks. Plenty of time to find one before having fun with it next Christmas.


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