December 23, 2009
Some of you (especially readers around age two) may have felt drawn to the little guy peeking out from behind the pile of mantecados I wrote about last week. He's my favorite caganer, a traditional rendition of the Catalan shitting man. He takes his place in all Catalan nativity scenes (even the ones in churches) to remind you of your humanity.
Here's what it's all about: no matter what kind of miracles may be going on around you, the arrival of kings and gods and so on, there you are, you and the call of nature, somewhere behind the manger. I've noticed some of you don't quite believe my annual claims about the importance of this tradition in Catalonia, though I'm glad at least a few of you are as charmed by it as I am.
Either way, here's a link to this year's Catalan Christmas hit, 'El Caganer,' in which pop stars Albert Pla, Joan Miquel Oliver, Gerard Quintana, Estopa, and Quimi Portet i Manel wax nostalgic about what makes for the perfect nativity scene: "There's Mary and Joseph, the three kings, shepherds and sheep, a little old lady roasting chestnuts... and above all, there's gotta be a caganer."