If you ask me... Christmas does not belong to Barcelona. Period. I refuse to see it and i juts can't imagine it! Nevertheless it does look like the city vamps up pretty well for the holidays...
The feria de Santa Lucia runs from early December until Christmas Eve and can be found outside the Cathedral, in Plaça de la Seu and Plaça Nova. (nearest Metro: Jaume I). Here you will find all sorts of hand made gifts, intricate nativity scenes and the Caga Tió log (something you'll struggle to find anywhere else!) and of course Caganer, a porcelain gnome figurine dressed as a peasant farmer squatting with his pants down and a stream of excrement connecting his bare buttocks to the earth.
Well, excuse me. What? Is really a shitting man (and excuse my language, caganer =pooper in English) is one of the most typical Catalan accessories of holy Christmas? Wikipedia does have several explanations:
Possible reasons for placing a man who is in the act of excreting waste in a scene which is widely considered holy include:
- Perceived humor.
- Finding the Caganer is a fun game, especially for children.
- The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. However, this is probably an a posteriori explanation, and few cite this reason for including the Caganer in the Nativity scene.
- The Caganer represents the equality of all people: regardless of status, race, or gender, everyone defecates.
- Increased naturalism of an otherwise archetypal (thus idealised) story, so that it is more believable, taken literally and seriously.
- The idea that God will manifest himself when he is ready, without regard for whether we human beings are ready or not.
- The caganer reinforces that the infant Jesus is God in human form, with all that being human implies.
OK. I need to digest this....
Christmas Eve in Barcelona
Midnight mass as Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day is very important in Spain. The biggest 'misa del gallo' is at the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat near Barcelona.
Three Kings Procession in Barcelona
On December 5, as is the case throughout Spain, the Three Kings lead their procession through the city. In Barcelona the procession starts shortly after five o'clock at Portal de la Pau and finishes around nine at Montjuïc. You can expect large crowds, so arrive early. On the night of December 5, children leave a shoe out for the Three Kings to fill (stockings clearly aren't so common in this Mediterranean climate!)
There is one obvious nativity scene that every visitor to Barcelona should see - the permanent natvity scene at Sagrada Familia. There is also a big display at the Cathedral. The Catalan word for 'nativity' is 'pessebre' while in Spanish it is 'belén'.
To be continued....