Catalunya is in the north-east part of Spain and has a distinct language, culture and traditions of its own. Whereas in Spain Christmas is celebrated with a big family meal on the evening of 24th December, in Catalunya Christmas is celebrated on the 25th with a big lunch.

Tió the magic log. Credit

But before lunch, generally in the morning, (although some families make it on Christmas eve), we have a particular Catalan tradition, where children and not so children make “cagar el Tió”, which as a literal translation would be to make “the log poop”.

OK forget the translation, better I explain it! So you get a log and children feed it starting a couple of weeks before Christmas (usually Santa Llúcia on the 13th december). During the night parents remove the food and next day the child thinks that the log has eaten it, and it’s good because the more it eats the more presents it will “poop” or give.

On Christmas day, children go to the kitchen and pray, then they get a stick and while singing a song which can change from area to area in the differents parts of Catalonia but all about the “Tió”, they hit the log which is covered with a blanket.

caga tió,
tió de Nadal,
no caguis arengades,
que són massa salades
caga torrons
que són més bons!”

(poop log, christmas log, don’t poop salty sardines; they are too salty. poop nougats, which are nicer!)

“Tio” under his blanket. Credit

When the children finish the song, they remove the blanket and underneath they find the presents! (which while praying in the kitchen the parents have hidden under the log and covered with the blanket) and really, children are so happy they don’t think how come the log “poops” presents.

If the child has been not behaving properly during the last year at some point the “Tió” will give coal, which usually is a candy with the aspect of coal. At my home however, as we were good children (of course!) the coal was put at the last try to indicate that the “Tió” didn’t have anything else to poop.

Unfortunately like other traditions this one was fading with the omnipresent Santa Claus, however, recently it seems it’s beginning to be “trendy” again.

This was a guest post by Meritxell in Catalunya. Thanks Meritxell!

Visit again tomorrow for Christmas in New Zealand, by Marie.

Read more:
Christmas regained – Christmas in Romania
Windy Christmas – Christmas in Costa Rica
White Christmas – Christmas in the UK

About the author

Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.