Lately I've been seeing a lot of incredibly gauche Hanukkah displays around Southern California. Of course Hanukkah is over now and it's time for the gentiles to break out the inflatable snow globes, the plastic Santas and the Nativity Scenes.
I can look high and low around my neighborhood, but chances are slim I'm going to see a Nativity Scene like the one pictured here.
You see the man on the right, just outside the manger? In Catalonia, he is known as The Caganer (in English, "The Pooper" or "The Shitter"). If you look even closer, you'll see the man's pants have been dropped and he is 'depositing his frankincense and myrrh on the rock.
From what I've gathered on Wikipedia, this custom was started in Northern Spain by farmers as a way to celebrate not only the birth of the Saviour but also the rebirth of the soil, which needs fertilizer, which needs a man pooping in the yard.
If I wasn't so busy with work right now, I would book four tickets for my family to fly to Andora and travel around the countryside just to take in the various and colorful Caganer displays. My oldest daughter, a budding photographer, could take pictures of the Nativity Scenes and we could turn it all into a cool coffee table book.
Dear Random House....
Well, maybe next year.
You might be wondering what would it look like if The Caganer were not some decrepit old man, but someone more contemporary and famous. OK, you might not be wondering that, but the good folks at caganer.com have.