Marco Polo’s 24 Holiday traditions from around the world – Day 9: Spain, Caganers

It’s Day 9 of our Advent Calendar and today we are looking into a very peculiar tradition from… Spain! Did you miss yesterday’s post? Check it out here!



Originally a Catalonian tradition but now practiced throughout Spain, a caganer is a small figurine of a man in the process of defecating. The caganer literally means the “crapper” and the figurines are featured in the traditional nativity scenes. There are many explanations for this tradition, but the most widely accepted one is that by defecating the caganers are quite literally fertilising the Earth and as such featuring the caganer in the nativity scene brings good luck. The figurine is usually depicted as a man dressed in traditional Catalan attire, though nowadays there are caganers – rather popular ones too – depicting celebrities and political figures, such as President Trump, or even the Pope.

Needless to say, the caganer figurines are well-beloved, especially by children and adolescents. If you want to ensure a few good chuckles at your Christmas party, just bring a caganer figurine home when you next visit Barcelona!


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