Every year around Christmas time, committed inhabitants of historic medieval villages come together – the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren of the cobbler, the hairdresser, the potter or the carpenter. They have fished out the antique tools of their ancestors from sheds and broom closets and are now assembling in courtyards, alleys, and public places to form living pictures. In Báscara, Castelló, Pals, Peralada, and at many other places workshops, markets, and the birth of Jesus become alive. “Pessebres Viventes“ – “Living Cribs“ are tradition in Catalonia and so nearly every village is filled with new life around the Christmas period.
Living Cribs sometimes only take place on one evening but mostly on every holiday. Families and guests will join together being actors or visitors then. One can hear children laughing mixed with the cackle of ducks and chicken, being interrupted by hammering noises coming from imaginary workshops, shrouded in the smoke coming from old chimneys, and lighted up by tiny campfires and the light of torches in the wind. This is the picturesque and colourful scenery which every year creates the right feeling of Christmas – the feeling that Catalonia is on a travel through time back to the birth of Jesus Christ.
In the hinterland of the Costa Brava, in Báscara, you get one of the most impressive stagings. Here, more than 300 amateur actors annually transfer their visitors back to the Palestine of more than 2000 years ago. This crib performance takes place in the medieval alleys and ruins of the municipality since 1973.The living pictures in the midst of the beautiful landscape and on the bank of the river Fluvià, in front of the backdrop of innumerable rocks, springs, and waterfalls are nearly film material.
One crib figure with naked bottom causes serious amazement among non-initiated visitors here in Báscara and at other places. This is probably because you can only find this in Catalonia: Someone pulls down his trousers and puts a stinking poop close to the Christ child and the crib, in the midst of the most beautiful photo motive. If you now assume a new type of joke, you are wrong. This strange happening is a fixed crib ceremonial since the age of baroque. The small Caganer – “the crapper“ is considered to be a lucky charm and reflects the Catalan mentality – blithely indifferent to the holy and rather thinking practically of fertilizing the fields and of having a great harvest afterwards. If you are looking for the individual lucky charm for 2015 to give for Christmas, you will be spoilt for choice. Football stars, politicians, characters of films, as well as Queen Leticia with naked bottom are available for 16€ onward. The incredible beststeller of the year 2014 is the Pope.
In all holiness we wish you a Merry Christmas and the perfect start into the New Year 2015.