Our world is filled with fascinating and interesting things. There is a rich tapestry of traditions and customs. Many are beautiful, many are sacred and some? They are just plain weird.
And with Christmas just around the corner, many are revisiting their own family traditions such as sipping on eggnog, hiding the Elf on the Shelf every night or – the more unusual Catalan custom of the Tió de Nadal, or what it is popularly referred to as the “Caga tió.” Translation? The Pooping Log. What exactly is the Pooping Log and how do your family partake in such an…umm… interesting practice?
• Get your self a hollow log about 30 centimeters in length, stand it up with two or four sticks, paint a smiling face on the end, stick on a three-dimensional nose and then finish him off with a red sock hat (a barretina as it is known in Catalan).
• On December 8th, the beginning of the Feast of Immaculate Conception, start to give your little tió a little something to “eat” each evening.
• Before you go to sleep cover him with a blankie so he doesn’t get cold at night.
• On Christmas day (or Christmas eve if that’s when you party it up), put the tió part way into the fire place and order him to “poop!” (you don’t need to use the fireplace if you don’t have one).
• To make him “poop” “one beats him with sticks, while singing various songs of Tió de Nadel (lyrics below).
• Tió’s poop is generally small items such as candies, nuts, torrons and the occasional dry fig. And that’s not it, “When nothing is left to “poop”, it drops a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion or ‘urinates’.”
• Share all the poop and pee with your family and friends, they are “communal” gifts.
Here is a song of the “caga tió”:
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
if you don’t poop well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,