French President Francois Hollande has been caught with his pants down in Spain’s latest “caganer” statuettes, which depict bare-bottomed celebrities defecating.
The ceramic figurines have been sold in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region since the 18th century to be placed in Christmas nativity scenes for good luck.
The 2012 collection features a balding, bespectacled Hollande in a natty blue suit with white shirt and sky-blue tie. But the rear view shows the 58-year-old French leader’s bottom and faeces on the ground.
“The ‘caganers’ do not attempt to mock the personality or role depicted but rather to be a tribute,” said a statement by the family firm Alas-Pla, which makes the figurines each year.
The figurines are “respected and loved” by Catalans, who traditionally viewed them as a way to “fertilize” the land for next year’s harvest and ensure good health, it said Wednesday.
Along with Hollande, Barcelona football club’s new coach Tito Vilanova is honoured this year, wearing a black suit and black-and-white striped tie, and with his buttocks bared to the world.
In a nod to Catalan secessionist stirrings, there is a “caganer independence” figurine who wears a Catalan flag like a cloak, with his bottom poking out beneath it.
US President Barack Obama’s “caganer”, released after his 2008 election victory, is still available for fans who want to pay unusual tribute to his sweeping 2012 re-election.