A Crappy Christmas Tradition for the Kids: Beat the Log and Make it Poo

This year marked the 225th anniversary of La Fira de Santa Llúcia, Barcelona’s biggest Christmas market. The stalls just outside of the Cathedral offer Christmas decorations, gifts, trees, nativity figures and much more.  But, the most common item at the Christmas market is the “Caga Tió” – a wooden log with a smiley-face on one end and propped up on two front legs. It often wears the traditional Catalán red hat, the “barretina.”

Photos of Caga Tiós at the Barcelona Christmas Markets

The Catalán word “tió” means “log,” so “Tió de Nadal” is a “Christmas log.” (In this case “tió” has an accent on the “o” and is often confused with the Castellano (Spanish as most people know it) spelling of “tío” with the accent on the “i” that means “uncle.”

The Caga Tió first appears on December 8, El Día de la Inmaculada – the Feast of The Immaculate Conception. From then until Christmas, children take care of the “Caga Tió,” leaving food for him at night, like mandarin oranges and turrón (nougat – it’s like Halvah). They keep it warm with a blanket covering its “lower half.”  Then, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day betrayal permeates the region of Catalunya as children wield sticks, beating the log while singing until the log “sh*ts” presents. As the children sing, an adult scoots the blanket off of the Caga Tió, revealing the presents.

Since Barcelona is Caga Tiós in the city of Barcelona are spared the fate of their relatives out in the countryside who end up in the fire.

since chimneys are very uncommon in the city that is dominated by apartments, or flats, saving the Caga Tió from meeting its customary demise – the fire.


Posted on January 1, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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