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Sergi Alós

Caganer craftsman

The caganer is one of the most characteristic and popular figures of any Catalan Christmas and no self-respecting nativity scene would be seen without one. It is the slightly irreverent representation of an individual bent over and baring buttocks, satisfying his or her personal needs in the outdoors.

The figure is tucked away somewhere, under the bridge, behind a barn, half hidden, a little out of the way from the road the travellers walk on the way to worship the baby Jesus. It is the first thing children look for in a manger! It depicts a traditional farmer with a Caganer beret who is smoking a pipe while fulfilling his natural obligations.

In the past the figure was a representation of the fertility of the land, but it is also now thought that it was most likely a protest against the power of the church. The first Caganers are known to have appeared in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

EL CAGANER began its adventure in 1992 with Anna Maria Pla, Sergi's mother and his brother Marc (pictured) .

Today,this workshop in Torroella de Montgri (Baix Empordà), turns out all kinds of Caganers and each year there is something new. After choosing the model they have decided to make, the plaster molds are made and fired in the oven before decorating. The Caganers are not only produced in the workshop and now local community associations have also joined the effort.

The Caganer is not the only typically Catalan character depicted going his business. We could never forget the Tió, a log that lives under the Christmas tree and needs to be fed until the day before Christmas so that it can provide gifts along to the rhythm and (kindly) beatings and songs of the children.

1. Coloured paints to finish off the Caganers.

2. Brushes of all sizes to paint our hero.

3. A palette for mixing the colours any self respecting Caganer needs.

4. Caganers straight out of the mold and ready for sanding.

5. Material prepared to put in the molds.

6. Molds of different characters of Caganers.

7. Spoon to help detail the figures.

8.The classic Catalan Caganer!

9. A Hillary Clinton Caganer.

10. The President-elect of the USA, Donald Trump's own model!

11. Caganer of the President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont.

Insert photo: the Alós brothers with larger Caganers and in the background shelves filled Caganers.

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