Saturday, December 3, 2011

Caganer...the defecating peasant

Battery operated caganer who wipes and wipes.

I greatly enjoy translating words I use in my posts from Catalan to English. Today, this one word-caganer, said with an elegant aspiration at the beginning and middle of the word, is simply translated as the shitter. Such an eloquent sounding word in Catalan until you understand its base meaning in English. The upside of this pleasant-sounding-word-with-tacky-meaning is that  when you look at the caganer figurine found in Catalan nativity scenes, you smirk and forget about the harsh translation in English, especially when you say the word out loud in a low voice, the shitter.

No one knows for sure why this figure started appearing in nativity scenes in the 18th century. The caganer is a part of the peripheral landscape of shepards, peasants, and animals in the nativity scene, hidden behind a bush or discretely defecating between trees letting his stool fall to the ground.

I personally think it was a Catalan figurine sculptor with a fantastic sense of humor who figured that if a peasant was on his way to visit Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, he at some point had to stop along the way to squat, expose his buttocks, and relieve himself.

As a spectator, searching for the caganer in a Catalan nativity display is part of the enjoyment process in viewing such a solemn scene. Nowadays, the Catalan peasant  is not the only one squatting to take care of bowel movements. Pop culture icons are now part of the caganer plethora which include famous politicians, singers, and sports stars.  Bona nit!

Rows and rows of famous shitters...can you spot Shakira holding the microphone while squatting?

Can't really see his stool pile on the ground, no wonder this caganer only sells for 3.50.

Great detail of the caganer peasant smoking, squatting and defecating.

The Messi caganer is too expensive.

The Dali Lama, Putin, Castro, Einstein, who's missing...Obama!

Oh there's Obama! Right next to Homer Simpson.

This caganer is part of the nativity scene right in front of City Hall.

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