It’s time to return to Catalonia, Spain, our home away from home. We love the warm people, amazing food and gorgeous landscapes, but most of all we love their incredible traditions – most of which, when you ask a Catalonian where some things come from, are greeted with a scratch the head, shrug of the shoulders and a reply of “I don’t know. But it’s fun.”
And it is fun. So much fun.
Since it is Christmas, let’s take a peek at two of their notorious and intriguing traditions – and, yes, they involve poop.
Tió de Nadal, or Tió the Christmas Log, is a staple in many Catalan homes and fills children’s hearts with magic and excitement. Not only does he have a bright, smiling face and a cute little hat, but he also brings presents.
Commencing with the Feast of Immaculate Conception (December 8th), families will feed Tió a little bit of food each night and then cover him with a blanket to keep him warm. Then on Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve, depending on your traditions), Tió is beaten with a stick and ordered to shit out small gifts like figs, candies and nuts.
The song goes like this:
shit nougats (turrón),
When Tió is out of things to shit, he’ll generally plop down a salted herring, bit of garlic or urinate.
Every household enjoys Tió de Nadal a bit differently, but you’ll get an idea of it from the video below:
Do you enjoy Where’s Waldo? In Catalonia they do something much more fun.
Nativity Scenes are commonly found during the holiday season; most of us know the deal – baby Jesus cradled in hay while loving and doting parents, saintly figures and besotted animals look on. But if you’re in Catalonia, look a bit closer and you might notice something surprising…
A Cagner is a mischievous little fellow who can be spotted taking a massive dump somewhere in the nativity scene.
Cagners are usually depicted as men in white shirts and red hats, but they can also be women or of different races as well.
In fact, we’re starting to see all sorts of different Cagners pop up, usually celebrity figures ranging from popular football stars to President Obama.
The Cagner can also be found in certain parts of France, Naples and Portugal, and while the origins and meaning of the Cagner can be debated (is it about “fertility” or just about being silly?) the Cagner is certainly here to stay.
So should you be in Catalonia during the festive season, make sure you look for a Cagner or pick your own Tió de Nadal and celebrate a bit differently this year…
- A Crappy Christmas (literally) (expatordinary.com)
- Christmas free-style, Caga Tió (darmadesign.wordpress.com)
- 5 Bizarre Christmas Traditions (todayifoundout.com)