December 24, 2011

Bon Nadal, Tots!

Bon-Nadal-Tots.gif
The title of this post is Catalan for: Merry Christmas, All!

The figurine above is a caganer. I've blogged about the caganer before. Here is a recent mention in the UK's Telegraph. Wikipedia eludicates:

Explanations

Possible reasons for placing a figure representing a person in the act of excreting waste in a scene which is widely considered holy include:

-Tradition.

-Perceived humour.

-A fun spectacle, especially for children.

-The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. According to the ethnographer, Joan Amades, it was a "customary figure in pessebres [i.e. nativity scenes] in the 19th century, because people believed that this deposit [symbolically] fertilized the ground of the pessebre, which became fertile and ensured the pessebre for the following year, and with it, the health of body and peace of mind required to make the pessebre, with the joy and happiness brought by Christmas near the hearth. Placing this figurine in the pessebre brought good luck and joy and not doing so brought adversity."


(Pesebre means nativity scene in Catalan.)
-The Caganer represents the equality of all people: regardless of status, race, or gender, everyone defecates.
Increased naturalism of an otherwise archetypal (thus idealised) story, so that it is more believable, more real and can be taken more seriously.

-The idea that God will manifest himself when he is ready, without regard for whether we human beings are ready or not.

-The Caganer reinforces the belief that the infant Jesus is God in human form, with all that being human implies.
The character introduces a healthy amount of religious doubt to test one's faith.
Further opinions:

-"The caganer was the most mischievous and out-of-place character of the pessebre's [otherwise] idyllic landscape; he was the "Other", with everything that entails, and as the "Other", was accepted, in a liberal vein, as long as he did not aim to occupy the foreground. The caganer represented the spoilsport that we all have inside of us, and that's why it is not surprising that it was the most beloved figure among the children and, above all, the adolescents, who were already beginning to feel a bit like outsiders to the family celebration." Agust? Pons

-"The caganer is a hidden figure and yet is always sought out like the lost link between transcendence and contingency. Without the caganer, there would be no nativity scene but rather a liturgy, and there would be no real country but just the false landscape of a model." Joan Barril

-"The caganer seems to provide a counterpoint to so much ornamental hullabaloo, so much emotive treacle, so much contrived beauty." Josep Murgades

-"The caganer is, like so many other things that have undergone the filtering of a great many generations, a cult object; with the playful, aesthetic and superficial devotion that we feel towards all the silly things that fascinate us deep down." Jordi Soler

Posted by Dennis at December 24, 2011 12:13 PM

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