Christmas peculiarities in Catalonia

Christmas is celebrated in every country of this world, but every one has its own peculiarities and local celebrations. One example of this is Catalonia, where they enjoy also another celebration: the Tió de Nadal.
The Tió de Nadal also known simply as Tió (“trunk” or “log”, a big piece of cut wood) and popularly called Caga tió (“shitting log”), is a character in Catalan mythology relating to a Christmas tradition widespread in Catalonia.
The form of the Tió de Nadal found in many Catalan homes during the holiday season is a hollow log of about thirty centimetres length. Recently, the tió has come to stand up on two or four little stick legs with a broad smiling face painted on the higher of the two ends, enhanced by a little red sock hat (a miniature of the traditional Catalan barretina) and often a nose.
Beginning with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), one gives the tió a little bit to “eat” every night and usually covers him with a little blanket so that he will not be cold at night.

On Christmas day or, depending on the particular household, on Christmas Eve, one puts the tió partly into the fireplace and orders it to defecate; the fire part of this tradition is no longer as widespread as it once was, since many modern homes do not have a fireplace. To make it defecate one beats the tió with sticks, while singing various songs of Tió de Nadal.

The tradition says that before beating the tió all the kids have to leave the room and go to another place of the house to pray asking for the tió to deliver a lot of presents.
The tió does not drop larger objects, as those are considered to be brought by the Three Wise Men. It does leave candies, nuts and torrons. When nothing is left to “shit”, it drops a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion or “urinates”. What comes out of the tió is a communal rather than individual gift, shared by everyone present.

Caga tió song:

“Caga tió,

caga torró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
Caga tió!”
Shit log,

shit nougats,
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
if you don’t shit well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,
shit log!

Comments are closed.