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Sometimes I think we ought to hear, “Oh, Spain,” uttered in the same way we hear, “Oh, Japan,” in a wistful sigh that conveys our lack of understanding of traditions far, far from what we consider normal.

The apparently masochistic Caga tió smiles in
anticipation of being beaten until he poops out your
snacks for Christmas.
Photo: Wikipedia

A PERFECT ILLUSTRATION of this point is the “Tió de Nadal” (Christmas Log), more popularly known as “Caga tió” (shitting or pooping log) – a tradition of Catalonia.

Starting on December 8, the hollowed log is ‘fed’ each night and tucked under a blankie so he won’t get cold. Then on Christmas day or Christmas Eve, the family gathers around and sings to the log as they beat it, loosing ‘poop’ such as figs and turrón to be shared by all the assailants. At the end, the log will crap out a herring or a head of garlic to signal the treats have come to an end.

Similar traditions are practiced in areas near to Catalonia and are thought to be related to the Christmas tree.

According to Wikipedia, this is the one of the many songs sung to the Tió de Nadal prior to and during its beating:

Graphic: Kate Sedgwick


Community Connection

Still Interested in Catalonia? We thought so. Check out Matador Community Member Frannyink‘s informative essay about the living architecture of the Castellers of Catalonia.

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Culture + Religion


 

About The Author

Kate Sedgwick

Editor-at-large, Kate Sedgwick, works from Buenos Aires where she organizes her live storytelling project, Second Story Buenos Aires. Read more about her than you might want to know at her blog YesThereIsSuchAThingAsAStupidQuestion.com, and follow her infrequent tweets @KateSedgwick.

  • http://matadorabroad.com Tim Patterson

    Fascinating.

  • Linda

    Is that translation real? Or is someone having their way with Wikipedia?

    • http://yesthereissuchathingasastupidquestion.wordpress.com/ Kate Sedgwick

      It’s a weird Spanish that’s a bit French, but it’s a translation from what’s there. Whether what’s there is real, I don’t know for sure.

  • Michael

    It’s not Spanish, it’s Catalan, another romance language. Kinda makes me miss Catalonia… They also have the caganers (little shitters) that are hidden in the manger scenes…go figure.

  • kimayou Meigui

    Wow. I’ve seen some crazy things living in Japan, but that’s definitely among the top! I’m not quite sure I would know what to say to that….

    “The apparently masochistic Caga tió smiles in anticipation of being beaten until he poops out your snacks for Christmas.”
    —-I think that just about covers it…

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://academicexperts.us/assistant.html Jason Newsted

    This is a wondeful thought how to do such a thing. Cool place to find.

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