Sunday, December 16, 2007

Traditions and Pooping Shepherds

Each year the month of December brings about those homey, comfy feelings of yet another Christmas celebration. There are all kinds of traditions that families celebrate, ours included. We always put an orange in the toe of every ones stocking. The orange began because mom told me that when she was a little girl it was such a wonderful treat to get an orange in their stocking because they could never afford to buy fresh oranges or any other fresh fruit for that matter. It was just one small simple way to carry on that tradition with my children. Funny thing is that it skipped a generation because we never had stockings as children. Probably because there were so many kids that Santa might have gotten tangled up in all the mess.

Another tradition evolved not because it had a sentimental meaning but because it was a huge stocking filler. We put a bottle of sparkling cider in each stocking. The kids just loved this because they didn't have to share with anyone. In fact they usually would take a swig of it any time they felt the urge. That way it guaranteed no one else would drink from their bottle. I also try to hang an ornament each year on the neck of the bottle. Not only does it look really cute but the kids have their own collection of ornaments by the time they leave home.

So I bet you are wondering where all this is leading. And what about the title of this post.....Pooping Shepherds? When Brian decided he would study in Spain for his Masters in translation, he fell in love with the country which is rich in tradition. One tradition he found very interesting and hilarious is the tradition of the “Caganer” . Translated from Spanish to English it means “defecator”. Being the kind and thoughtful, loving son that he is, last Christmas he sent me this lovely Spanish serving set and tucked inside the package was a little "Caganer" which is a little shepherd boy with his pants down, squatting and pooping. The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 18th century. Originally, the Caganer was portrayed wearing traditional Catalan wear. Now you can find every kind of version, a devil, nun, even a President Bush one! The statue is most often tucked away in some corner of the nativity and it is a great game for the children to find it somewhere in every set. I was talking to Charo about this and she said it is everywhere in Spain. So I ask myself, is there a reason for placing a man who is in the act of excreting solid waste from his bum in the Christmas nativity? The meaning that goes with it today is that the ‘Caganer’, by creating feces, is fertilizing the earth.

Well, since I have found my nativity set in a multitude of arrangements by Brian over the years such as the Virgin Mary holding the sheep, the baby upside down being spanked by the wise man, Santa in line to see the babe, etc. I am not surprised any longer by his trickery. But I will say this.....Brian knows a tradition when he sees it.

First glance leads you to believe that this is a beautiful nativity set.

But what is that? Back behind the unsuspecting cow and wise man.

Zoom in a little closer. Little shepherd boy looks a might bit in gastric distress.

Oh my! A view from behind shows the true antics of a poor little shepherd boy in Spain.

Let's keep this in the dark and pretend we don't know. Isn't it lovely?


Kristi said...

Hey, no fair - I want a pooping shepherd!!!!! That is hilarious!

Kelli said...

Special, special Brian... He is one of a kind. But it is a nice addition to the Nativity set. I enjoy hearing about traditions in other cultures!

carrie & troy keiser said...

hahaheheheh :D thanks again for the laughs!