|Figure 1. Caga Tió|
Instead of leaving cookies for a round, jolly Santa plopping down the chimney, some Catalan families place a log (traditionally near the fireplace, but it could be elsewhere), which gets “fed” little snacks starting on December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), until Christmas. In modern times, this shit log stands on four legs and has a little smiley face drawn on one end. (See Figure 1.) The Caga Tió is covered with a blanket to keep it warm. The reason it's fed is so it will later “poop out” presents.
On Christmas Eve, or Day, the family serenades the Poop Log, invoking it to drop a load (of gifts) while hitting it with a stick to move things along. The song has several variations, one of which goes as follows:
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé,
et daré un cop de bastó.
Translated from Catalan as:
Poop out torrone (a Christmas cake)
Hazelnuts and cottage cheese
If you don’t poop good
I’ll hit you with a stick
|Figure 2. Caganer.|
For all of you who think I’m smoking hectic weed, or that I’m just obsessed with excrement—you’re partly right! I do love a good poop story. However in this case what I say is true, as confirmed by the gospel (Wikipedia). To purchase your own poop log or town shitter, click here.
And, I’ll end this little lesson in culture (and caca) with an old Catalan saying:
“Menja bé, caga fort i no tinguis por a la mort!" (Eat well, shit strong and don't be afraid of death!)
Merry Christmas (Bon Nadal) and Happy Holidays (Bones Festes) everyone!