Thursday, December 19, 2013

El caganer

Today was a pretty uneventful and easy day. I spent a lot of the time singing Christmas carols, decorating the classroom, and playing games. I heard a short story about the Three Wise Men and their camels. It was a pretty cute book about how the camels ate a lot of food and then the Wise Men made them exercise so that they could be healthy and ready to deliver presents with the Wise Men on January 6th.

On another note, it rained most of the day today so the students couldn't go outside for recess today, so they finished watching the movie Monster House. Unfortunately, that is not a Christmas movie. :( I think they've been watching it since Halloween time, because they haven't had too many days that they have had to stay inside. Anyway, while the movie was being watched a student decided to draw all over the tiles in the classroom, so for the next half hour or so, the classroom teacher had a talk with the students. It took that long for the student to fess up to it. Well, actually another student ratted them out and then they were forced to tell the truth, but that was an interesting conversation to have with a bunch of first graders. Never lie, it just gets you in more trouble. Poor kids though. Two of the students that weren't even involved in the incident started to cry just because I think they were overwhelmed. :( Anyway, after that, the rest of the day went okay still. More Christmas fun was had.

At lunch, I finally took pictures of Belén (Bethlehem) which has been up at the school for about two weeks now. All of the students contributed in some way. For example, the 1st graders (my students) made the sky, clouds, stars, mountains, etc. and the rest of the school made the village. It's actually really cool and it looks like the students spent a lot of time on everything. Also, I should note that it is very common in Spanish households to have the whole city of Bethlehem depicted rather than just the typical manger scene, which is common in the U.S.
The Nativity Scene
Yep, that is a metal man pooping...
I'm sure you're wondering why I have included that last picture and why it is a part of Belén at the school. Well, come to find out, it is a Spanish (specifically Catalonian) tradition to have a figurine pooping in the scene. According to Wikipedia, it is sometimes a game for children to find this figurine in the scene. I will now be looking for one in every Belén scene that I see. Apparently the origin of this figurine is unknown and really the explanations are pretty widespread to, but here are the ones listed on Wikipedia:

  • Tradition.
  • Perceived humour.
  • A fun spectacle, especially for children.
  • The Caganer is fertilizing the Earth and the nativity scene therefore the scene is fertilized for the following year. It also brings good luck and joy.
  • The Caganer represents the equality of all people: regardless of status, race, or gender, everyone defecates.
  • Increased naturalism of an otherwise archetypal 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."

Well, isn't that just an interesting way to interpret that. I rather like it, but I do find it a little strange. On another note, there are a lot more modern Caganers these days. For example, they have celebrity figurines, cartoons, and even Obama. I guess I know what souvenir to look for when I am in Barcelona next week. Ha.

Anyway, after school, I had one of my private lessons. The other one was cancelled because both brothers had the flu and then for the one I did go to, the father had the flu. Clearly the flu is going around. Luckily, I only have one day left in the school to avoid getting sick before my vacation. That is the last thing I want for my two week trip. Right after the lesson, I went straight to Karin's house so that she could help me with something English stuff for my teacher and then I helped her add Snapchat to her iPad, so we had a little fun with that. Then, I came home, ate dinner, relaxed, and skyped my parents. Now it is time for bed. I have a day filled with Christmas fun tomorrow. Hasta mañana.

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