Christmas is approaching and many children eagerly await the arrival of Santa Claus. Meanwhile, in Catalonia we have been few days feeding a wooden log. No, we have not gone crazy, it is a really popular Catalan Christmas tradition. This wooden log is magic and is called Tió de Nadal or, more popularly known as, Caga Tió (The Pooping Log in English).
If you have ever spent Christmas in Catalonia, you have surely seen this famous magical wooden log at a Christmas market, but do you know the history behind this Catalan tradition? Keep reading, and we will tell you all the details!
This curious Christmas ritual has a very ancient pagan origin. When heating did not yet exist, logs were valuable pieces in winter, once burnt families used to spread the ashes to protect them and provide them with a year full of good harvests. The tradition of beating the log with a stick comes from the ancient need to wake up sleeping nature during winter.
But, the Tió de Nadal began to be a tradition strongly linked to Catalan Christmas in the 1960s, when it began to be represented with a smile face, a Catalan barretina and a blanket to protect it from the cold.
The Caga Tió is a very funny Christmas activity for the little ones. The first step is, a few days before Christmas, families go into the wild and look for the Caga Tió. Once found and at home, the children are tasked with feeding the Caga Tió with fruits, cookies or bread so that it can give them plenty of gifts for Christmas.
Traditionally, the Caga Tió is done after the traditional Christmas Rooster's Mass, although the most common is to do it on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, before or after the family meal.
The procedure of the "caga Tió" is very simple, the family gathers around the Tió de Nadal while the children sing the song of the Caga Tió, they are the ones who are in charge of hitting it with a stick so that it begins to «poo» the gifts. When the singing is over, the little ones take off the blanket and collect all the gifts with great enthusiasm!
But sometimes the Tió has more gifts to poo so, to give it a little more time, the children go to another room to sing or recite Christmas poems while the parents help the Tió by covering it again with a blanket.
Beyond religious beliefs, Tió is one of the most funny family activities to do during the Holidays. A tradition that co-exists with the Three Wise Men and Santa Claus so that everyone receives a gift for Christmas...
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