Barcelona, a photo a day

Christmas

Post 1322, last of 2012

We wish you all a very happy new year, une tres bonne annee, un feliz ano nuevo, ein froehlisches neues Jahr, um feliz ano novo, a güets nëies johr, kali chronia, shana tova, gelukkig nieuwjaar, gott nytt år, kia hari te tau hou, ath bhliain faoi mhaise, 新年好, bon any nou, あけまして おめでとう ございます, Chúc Mừng Nǎm Mới.

On January first, there wont be an ‘official CDPB ‘ theme day, but some of us will be posting our best photo of the year, here.

Advertisements

The brave

Well, it isn’t cold here, but I would definitely not go for a swim or even a dip. Some do… Photo taken yesterday.

On Christmas day, like every year, 400 of those courageous people went for a swim across the port. Well done, guys and girls!


Bon Nadal!

Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas, frohe Weihnachten, buon Natale,Meri Kirihimete ki a koe me te whanau
feliz Navidad, E güeti Wïnâchte,
Beannachtaí na Nollag, Maligayang pasko at manigong bagong taon, feliz Natal, god Jul, and

E schéine Chrëschtdag to all our friends and relatives all around this beautiful blue planet!

OK, that’s Catalan, French, English, German, Italian, Maori, Spanish, Alsatian, Gaelic, Tagalog, Portuguese, Swedish and Luxemburgish.


Time…

It is the time of the year when everything turns christmassy, bright and joyful. Yeah, let’s forget the darn crisis for a while!


CDP December theme: our street

Our street is the theme for this month on the CDP portal, and this is the photo we chose, a photo about the street around the corner from ours.

Click here to see other people’s streets.


Bewitched?

Do you have Christmas witches in your respective cultures?


The Christmas market is on…

… and my humans took me with them!


Caganers!!!

It’s that time of the year again, it’s Caganer time! Above, some players from the Barcelona Football Club, the Barca.

A Caganer is a figurine depicted in the act of defecation appearing in nativity scenes in Catalonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia, Northern Catalonia (in southern France) and the Balearic Islands.
In Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain and in most of Italy and Southern France, traditional Christmas decorations sometimes consist of a large model of the city of Bethlehem, similar to the Nativity scenes of the English-speaking world but encompassing the entire city rather than just the typical manger scene. In Catalonia, the pessebre or nativity scene is often a reproduction of a pastoral scene with a traditional Catalan masia (farmhouse) as a central setting with the child in a manger, with outlying scenes of a washerwoman by a river, a woman spinning, shepherds walking towards the manger area laden with gifts and herding their sheep, the three wise men approaching on horseback, an annunciation scene with the angel and shepherds, the star pointing the way, etc., all of this usually set on moss to represent grass, with cork used to represent mountains or cliffs. Another variant is to make the setting oriental, with the wise men arriving by camel and the figures dressed accordingly.
The caganer is a particular and highly popular feature of modern Catalan nativity scenes. It is believed to have entered the nativity scene by the late 17th-early 18th century, during the Baroque period. Eminent folklorist Joan Amades called it an essential piece and the most popular figure of the nativity scene. It can also be found in other parts of southwestern Europe, including Murcia, the region just south of the Valencia in Spain (where they are called cagones), Naples (cacone or pastore che caca) and Portugal (cagões). There is a sculpture of a person defecating hidden inside the cathedral of Ciudad Rodrigo, Province of Salamanca, though this is not part of a nativity scene. Accompanying Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds and company, the caganer is often tucked away in a corner of the model, typically nowhere near the manger scene. A tradition in the Catalan Countries is to have children find the hidden figure.
Possible reasons for placing a figure representing a person in the act of excreting waste in a scene which is widely considered holy include:

  • Tradition.
  • Perceived humour.
  • A fun spectacle, especially for children.
  • The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. According to the ethnographer, Joan Amades, it was a “customary figure in pessebres [i.e. nativity scenes] in the 19th century, because people believed that this deposit [symbolically] fertilized the ground of the pessebre, which became fertile and ensured the pessebre for the following year, and with it, the health of body and peace of mind required to make the pessebre, with the joy and happiness brought by Christmas near the hearth. Placing this figurine in the pessebre brought good luck and joy and not doing so brought adversity.”
  • 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, more real and can be taken more 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 the belief that the infant Jesus is God in human form, with all that being human implies.
  • The character introduces a healthy amount of religious doubt to test one’s faith.
  • A humorous allusion to the Spanish proverb (in translation), “Dung is no saint, but where it falls it works miracles.”

Further opinions:

  • “The caganer was the most mischievous and out-of-place character of the pessebre’s [otherwise] idyllic landscape; he was the “Other”, with everything that entails, and as the “Other”, was accepted, in a liberal vein, as long as he did not aim to occupy the foreground. The caganer represented the spoilsport that we all have inside of us, and that’s why it is not surprising that it was the most beloved figure among the children and, above all, the adolescents, who were already beginning to feel a bit like outsiders to the family celebration.” Agustí Pons
  • “The caganer is a hidden figure and yet is always sought out like the lost link between transcendence and contingency. Without the caganer, there would be no nativity scene but rather a liturgy, and there would be no real country but just the false landscape of a model.” Joan Barril
  • “The caganer seems to provide a counterpoint to so much ornamental hullabaloo, so much emotive treacle, so much contrived beauty.” Josep Murgades
  • “The caganer is, like so many other things that have undergone the filtering of a great many generations, a cult object; with the playful, aesthetic and superficial devotion that we feel towards all the silly things that fascinate us deep down.” Jordi Soler

 Anyway, here are some people, Kate Middleton, her hubby Will, Prince Charles and his mum, doing their bit for England…

Some others, doing their bit for Gaul…

and for whichever planet they are from…


The insider look

Now, have you ever been inside a Christmas tree? This is what the big one on Madrid’s Plaza del Sol, sun square, looks like.
And here is the same, from outside.

Photos courtesy of Mandy, who was there on Tuesday.


AD 1570

441 years of Christmas market in Strasbourg… A few glimpses, a few impressions.


Night lights

Some more lights in the night… There had to be a Christmas tree on Plaza Catalunya!


And some more night lights…

Blue is definitely the dominant color on Plaza Catalunya at night!


Christmas lights

Many tourists (and photographers) in town, all of them admiring the Christmas decorations on Plaza Catalunya


Lights in the darkness

Crisis or not crisis, the Christmas lights are on, and the city center looks totally gorgeous! More night shot full of light to come.
One strange thing about this photo though, for us anyway… Outside temperature 19 degrees, high sixties. Not too christmassy! No need for a sweater yet.


Happy anniversary!

Our yearly Christmas market, the Fira de Santa Lucia, is 225 years old! Congratulations!

Our World Tuesday, right here.


Breaking news!

Mr Santa, aka Pere Noel, Nick Cringle, Weihnachtsmann, etc. Big guy, elderly, big belly, white beard.
We think we know all about him. And that’s a fact. Some of you don’t believe in him.
Well, I’ve got some news for you! He’s real! Want some proof?
None other than Mrs Santa told me! She was in town the other day, Christmas Eve, in order to finish her (much older) hubby’s shopping. Well, someone has to do it, he is quite busy, you know!
Anyway, I met her coming out of some trendy fashion shop on the Ramblas (whose present did she buy there???). Nice girl.

One thing though… Can’t stand that partner look thing!

This is for My World Tuesday. Click here to see more.

Please check also out the BIGGEST CAGANER IN THE WORLD EVER on my other photo blog, right here! Front and back!


It’s Christmas!

So, well: merry Christmas to all of you celebrating it, happy holidays to others, and, finally, have a good day at work to some others! You know who you are.

Incidentally, it’s my sister’s birthday today as well. Bon anniversaire, vieille branche!

Tomorrow, we’ll start talking about some very serious, very extreme sailing…


And there was light!

Some more Christmas lights, on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes…

…on Ronda Sant Marti…

… and on Carrer Tallers.

Madame Sarkozy’s bum.

Traditions, traditions… Let’s talk about… yep: Christmas. In Catalunya, it is tradition to have someone having a poo under your Christmas tree. It is called a Caganer, a shitter. Why? Here is what Wiki says about it:
Possible reasons for placing a man who is in the act of excreting waste in a scene which is widely considered holy include:

  • Tradition.
  • Perceived humor.
  • A fun spectacle, 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 shits.
  • 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.

So, why not? You can have your own, just click here.

Anyway, being French, I just had to show you Mr. S. and Madame doing it together with their friends Mrs M. and Signore B.

More tradition(al), the Yule log come in all sizes.

What’s your funny or weird Christmas tradition?

This is for My World Tuesday. Click here to see more.


Light

Went to the Opera last night, and here are the first Christmas lights on and around the Ramblas.


Alsace part 3

Storks, I think I found your nest!

Part of the festive decoration in Strasbourg, Alsace, around Christmas.


One happy little girl

I’m sure she will think of this for a long time, and it will make her smile.
I chose sepia to accentuate the timelessness of the picture.

I will put some new pictures on our Venice blog today. Just click on the picture above.


El Triangle

On Plaza de Catalunya, our main square, there is a small shopping center called El Triangle (well, the building has a triangular shape). The main bookshop in town is in there. These are their Christmas lights. Blue, of course, we’re in Catalunya after all.

And a big welcome to Suzanne, from New Haven, Connecticut, our 212th follower, this being our 218th post!