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Caganer of giant panda sold in Barcelona Christmas market

BARCELONA, Spain, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- This Christmas, the giant panda has its own "caganer," the catalan word for "the defecator" in English, a ceramic figure that can be found at the Fira de Santa Llucia, a Christmas market located in the Mediterranean city of Barcelona.

The "caganer" is a typical ceramic figure for Christmas in Catalonia, traditionally present in the cribs since the 18th century. The traditional "caganer" represents a peasant wearing the traditional catalan beret called "barretina" and it is a symbol of good luck because it fertilizes the earth.

The giant panda "caganer" was made on the occasion of Beijing Design Week, which was held in the capital of China between Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 this year, and had Barcelona as guest city.

Although this "caganer" could not be finally displayed, Marc Alos, artisan of the company caganers.com, told Xinhua that around 300 caganers representing celebrities, real life figures or cartoons were shipped to Beijing and took part in the exhibition.

Now the panda bear has its place on the shelves of the Fira de Santa Llucia, located in the square of the Cathedral of Barcelona, along with other new "caganers."

Alos explained that new "caganers" this year include famous actors, such as Humphrey Bogart or Groucho Marx, or important figures in international literature, like William Shakespeare.

In addition, important figures of Catalan culture are also represented, the architect of the Sagrada Familia and other Modernist works, Antoni Gaudi, also has its "caganer."

"Sales are going well, but the weather does not help us," Alos told Xinhua, since the rain in the city these days prevented people from going out and shopping.

"The type of product we sell is suitable to everyone, tourists, people from here, children, adults," he said. The "caganers" are not only a figure for the crib, for many tourists, these figures have become a fun souvenir that they can take for their loved ones.

"It may be that 50 percent of our customers are from out of country, and this helps us," Alos said.

Caganers.com, a family enterprise, manufactures more than 30,000 figures a year and about 10 or 12 percent of them are bought by people from abroad, especially from the United States.

Alos stressed that it is a family tradition, children buy "caganers" to put them in their cribs and this tradition passes from parents to children. Some families buy one every year and there are even people that collect them.

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