Have you ever heard of the caganer? It's a weird Christmas tradition from the Catalan region in Spain, that I think we need to export.

The Caganer Is 'The Christmas Pooper'

Off in the corner of any Catalan Nativity scene is a shepherd who has pulled down his pants to poop.

Named the 'caganer' or 'the pooper', the figurine has appeared for centuries in Catalanian Nativity scenes.

Why would he do that in front of the newborn king? The reasons are still vague, but the tradition has lived on to the point that now you can buy celebrity caganer figures for your Nativity set.

The Tradition Traces Its Root Back To The 18th Century

The web site shbarcelona.com says the Nativity pooper is a metaphor for fertility and future good luck:

Well, according to Catalan people, the Caganer is blessing the lands, fertilizing them with his miraculous feces...By fertilizing the lands, the little character is actually fertilizing the people’s future, bringing luck and prosperity to all those who place him in the nativity scene, and bad luck to those who don’t.

Whether people believe the Caganer will actually make a difference in their luck, people enjoy having him around the house because it makes them smile. Some parents do an excellent job of hiding the Caganer in the nativity scene so that the kids can have a good time looking for it.

Nur via Unsplash
Nur via Unsplash

One Can Imagine The Many Michigan Poopers We Could Have In Our Nativity Scenes

Since the whole idea of the Caganer is to embrace the humanity of it all, no one in Catalan is spared form being a caganer, so here in West Michigan, the possibilities are endless.

Everyone from Governor Gretchen Whitmer to WOOD-TV weatherman Bill Steffen would be immortalized in a porcelain pooping statue upon our mantle tops.

What Michigan Football fan wouldn't want a Jim Harbaugh caganer? And guard your kneecaps, because a Detroit Lions Dan Campbell caganer would probably sell quite well.

Christmas Lights In Barcelona
Getty Images

Isn't It Kind Of Sacrilegious?

Not really. If you believe that Jesus was God remade as man, well, He would have to poop at some point, right?

According to Vox.com:

Christianity teaches that in the birth of Jesus, God became fully human — which, of course, means he would've defecated regularly. Granted, most Christmas songs don't talk about Jesus in such terms.


According to legend, popularized in Christmas songs like Away in a Manger, the meek Baby Jesus isn't even supposed to have cried … let alone pooped. (Of course, he would've done both, as any newborn's parents will tell you.)



Including a caganer in a nativity scene, he says, is one way Christians can remind themselves of the full humanity of Jesus.

Okay, but how does one portray the Christmas pooper in a LIVE Nativity scene? That, my friends, has never been explained to my satisfaction.

You can peruse an entire catalog of pooping statues at Caganer.com.

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