Dear 100 Hour Board,
Why is a figurine of a man squatting to take a poo part of most Portuguese Nativity sets?
How I longed to tell you that you're crazy and the squatting dude was actually just a short wise man...alas, the caganer is a real (and very beloved, apparently) part of many nativities in Catalonia, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
In that part of the world, it's traditional to set up a whole pastoral village scene around the manger scene of the nativity, and the caganer is usually somewhere in a corner of the village, not right next to the manger.
The tradition has been around for several hundred years, and although the origins are pretty much lost, people have come up with a handful of explanations for the caganer's inclusion in nativities, including "tradition," "perceived humor," and "the idea that God will manifest himself when he is ready, without regard for whether we human beings are ready or not," among other speculative explanations.