Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In the Garlic

Last Christmas I wrote about Spanish customs, based on the book In the Garlic. I've now discovered Theresa has her own website HERE with a bit more information about the Spanish Christmas and more on the caganer. I see I spelt it wrong on my two blogs below.....so slap my wrists.

Enjoy Theresa's site.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

More Spanish Christmas

I met a friend at El Farito restaurante today down at La Barrosa. The young proprietor was busy gathering greenery from the hedgerow and when I went inside, he was using it to trim the bottom of his artificial Christmas tree. (So sorry, Picasa is playing up and will not post my right-way-up picture, drat it. Just tilt your head to the left).

Now, this is a new phenomenon: northern Europeans Christmas-y stuff would not have been seen in this s.w. corner of Spain before a year or so ago. It crept in last year with lights in the town. Now you cannot move in the supermarkets and bazaars for sparkly balls, trimmings, Santas that can climb up walls, jingle bells, etc.....the whole nine yards.

So I was delighted when I went inside to see they also had the traditional Nativity. A lovely desert scene built inside a model boat.

No sign of a cagenar, the curious Catalan custom - see the post below. This Nativity is perfectly in keeping with the restaurant El Farito (little lighthouse) as it's all decked out with a nautical theme. The Christmas tree, to me, is a bit of an intrusion. It was a treat, however, to see the young man bringing all his creativity to the decorating of it.

Spanish Christmas

These are representative of Spanish humour - cageners (defecators). It's a custom from the 17th century in Catalonia, where - as a symbol of fertility for the earth - a little statue is tucked away somewhere in the Nativity model. The one with the red cap is said to be the traditional, original one but now you can find them of famous figures: sports stars (hundreds of footballers), political figures, celebs. Last year they introduced one of Barack Obama. Go take a look at this site if you're further interested HERE

I hope the link works. If not, Google cagener. I have included Queen Elizabeth II and Gordon Brown.

I did take a good look at the beautiful Nativity in a restaurant I went to today (see following post) but no sign of a cagener......what a pity - que pena.