What is the Catalan Christmas pooping man?

Look for the Caganer in Catalonia at Christmas!

One of our cheekiest Christmas decorations at home is this little guy we picked up on holiday in Barcelona years ago. He is a caganer, basically a little pooping man! You may have seen one in nativity scenes at Christmas time in Catalonia/Catalunya?

Caganer Catalan pooping man Christmas tradition

Caganer Catalan pooping man Christmas tradition

Here’s another that we spied on our travels in Barcelona (in the window of a bakery!).

Caganer Catalan pooping man Christmas tradition

What is a caganer?

He’s a funny little guy who is seen by many as an integral part of a Catalan nativity scene. The caganer figure is usually hidden away with his trousers pulled down to his ankles and squatting to lighten his load!

However, not all Catalan nativity scenes have one – you probably won’t find any near a church for example but see if you can find the caganer hidden below.

Caganer Catalan pooping man Christmas tradition

Why is he pooping?

Caganer means ‘pooper’ (well, I think it’s the less polite way of saying this!) in Catalan. It is thought that the caganer simply represents fertility and fertilising the soil will bring good luck, food and a bountiful new year. It’s a bit of fun and relates to another Catalan/Spanish Christmas tradition, that of Tió de Nadal, the log which ‘poops’ presents (Caga tió)! A wooden log is given a smiley face, filled with sweets, nuts and/or small toys and kept under a blanket until Christmas Eve when it is then beaten to release the treats inside!
Catalonia sounds like the best place to celebrate Christmas when growing up!

Caganer Catalan pooping man Christmas tradition

The modern caganer

The traditional caganer has a white shirt and traditional Catalan bonnet (like ours above) but you can also buy more topical tourist versions from shops all over Catalonia of famous people such as famous footballers like Lionel Messi or politicians like Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump, or even Queen Elizabeth! And yes, they are all pooping!

If you want to buy one yourself without travelling all the way to Catalonia, visit www.caganer.com.

Caganer Catalan pooping man Christmas tradition




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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