Catalan Christmas Traditions

The Pooping Log!

Catalonia has its own unique traditions over the Christmas period and perhaps one of the most unusual is the Tió de Nadal (roughly translated as “Christmas Log”). Popularly called “Caga tió” (The pooping log in English). Catalan Christmas traditions such as this are somewhat unusual.

Tió de Nadal
El Tió de Nadal, a Catalan Christmas tradition.

The Tió de Nadal is found in living rooms of Catalan homes during the Christmas season. It is a small to medium size log standing up on two little stick legs and usually with a broad smiling face drawn on one end. It wears a red farmer’s hat called “barretina” and is covered with a little blanket so it doesn’t get cold at night.The Tió comes from the forest on the day of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), and from that day onward children give the Tió a little bit to “eat” every night.

On Christmas day or, depending on the particular household, on Christmas Eve, children hit the Tió with a stick. It is this bashing while singing a song that orders it to loosen its bowels and let drop the presents!

The Tió does not drop large objects, as those are brought by the Three Wise Men on the 6th of January – another Catalan Christmas traditions. Instead it leaves small presents for the children, as well as candies, nuts, nougats. Also wine and other goodies that are shared by everyone.

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