Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Christmas with the “Caganer”

Being a self-confessed “Christmas nerd”, it isn’t every day I learn a new fact about Christmas.  I learned a new Christmas fact a few weeks ago watching a TV panel quiz on the ABC.
In many places in Europe, public Nativity Scenes are large, involving an army of shepherds, a huge choir of angels, many hangers-on in the Wise Men’s entourage, multiple guests eating and drinking in the inn, and a variety of people working on nearby farms.  In many areas of Spain, there is also a figure of a man in an obscure corner of the Nativity Scene engaged in relieving himself.  This figure is called a “caganer”.
I’d never heard of the “caganer” until a few weeks ago.  I checked the facts.  I didn’t just trust the TV presenters, even if the programme was initially shown on the highly salubrious and reliable BBC.  I consulted with that noted authority on all things factual, Professor Google.  It checked out.  It wasn’t “Fake News” (as the man with the funny comb-over says).
In many Spanish communities, the “caganer” helps to engage the interest of children in the Nativity Scene, as they try to find the hidden and obscure “caganer” in a “Where’s Wally?” sort of way.  

Theologically, the “caganer” has an important and profound message for us.  When God chose to come into our world as a human being, the Christ-child was born into the midst of our real world, not in some artificial, prettied-up, Disney-style world.  The “caganer” attending to an urgent call of nature at the same moment when the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us bears testimony to this. 

Have a Blesséd Christ-Mass, a Merry Christmas, and some Happy Holidays.

The Word has become Flesh, and lives in our midst.

Have a good one!

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