Spanish Shopping Center Displays World’s Largest El Caganer

The huge statue of a defecating giant was put up at the Maremagnum Shopping Center in Barcelona, Spain in December 2010. It recently snagged the Guinness Record for the largest caganer in the world.

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t unusual in Barcelona at all. In fact, the caganer is a common sight around Catalonia. It is generally in the form of figurines that appear in nativity scenes. They are often placed to the side of these traditional scenes. While the origins of this tradition are unknown, the practice has been in place since at least the 1700s. Traditional Catalonian Christmas decorations consist of  large models of the entire city of Bethlehem, instead of just they typical manger scene of the English-speaking world. The central setting consists of a farmhouse with the child in a manger, surrounded by washerwomen by a river, women spinning, along with the shepherds and the three wise men. The caganer is invariably found in a corner of the scene.

Several explanations have been offered on the presence of the defecating man. Some say it’s traditions, while others say it’s all just in good humor. A few argue that it’s a fun spectacle meant for children. A more serious theory suggests that the ‘deposit’ would fertilize the ground, which in turn would bring good health and happiness to every one. Perhaps the funniest of them all, is the idea that God will manifest himself when he is ready, regardless of whether humans are ready or not.

Photos by Rafael Miro and Oriol Gascón

via Laughing Squid

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