This morning, my kids opened the door and found a log sitting on our door step. A smiling log, with a red hat on. My kids’ faces lit up with excitement. Caga Tió—the pooping Christmas log—has arrived. Let me explain.
This is a tradition from Catalunya, in the northeast corner of Spain where Barcelona is located. Every year in December,Tió shows up at our house. We put him under the Christmas tree with a blanket to keep him warm. And every night we feed him treats, usually some nuts or mandarins or cookies, maybe something to drink. It’s a little like Santa and his reindeer, but it’s every night until Christmas Eve. We have to fatten him up.
Now for the magic. On Christmas Eve, the kids get some big sticks and they hit this log, while singing a song that basically says, “Hey log, poop me some tasty treats” (full song and translation below). And lo and behold, when the song finishes, the kids lift up the blanket and there are small present and treats waiting underneath. Yes, you heard that right.
It’s strange as hell, but it is a tradition. And if you think about it, a lot of traditions don’t make a whole lot of sense. But the kids love it. So while we’re here in America this year, it was great to see Tió show up.
Does your family have any weird holiday traditions? I’d love to hear about them.
Full song (only to be sung while whacking a smiling log with a stick):
tió de Nadal,
no caguis arengades,
que són massa salads.
que són més bons!
log of Christmas,
don’t poop salted herring,
they are too salty.
they are much better!
This isn’t the only pooping tradition from Catalunya. Soon I’ll explain the squatter behind the nativity scene. Stay tuned.
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