Nothing says Christmas like Lionel Messi taking a dump. Not to the wide-eyed children queuing up at the stalls of Barcelona’s Santa Llúcia Christmas fair, anyway. Their faces filled with wonder, they scan the shelves of figurines for their favourite cartoon character, sportsperson or singer, each lovingly rendered in clay, trousers round their ankles as they enjoy a satisfying bowel movement.

This is the caganer – the ‘Christmas crapper’ without whom no Catalan nativity scene is complete. Traditionally this was a man dressed in white, perhaps a shepherd, wearing the typical Catalan barretina (a floppy red hat not unlike Santa’s. Or the Smurfs’). Nowadays, however, these are vastly outnumbered…


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