Caga Tió - A Catalan Christmas Tradition
A Caga Tió (or Tio de Nadal) is a log that poops candy and presents at Christmas. Children beat it with sticks and sing songs until it does its business.
At first glance, this Christmas tradition from the Catalonia region of Spain seems completely bizarre. My son decided to build a Caga Tio as a joke, but we have since become enamored with the idea.
An example from YouTube
Make your own Caga Tió
Find a suitable log - the size is up to you. If you want a Caga Tió just for a display, you can make it as small as you like. If you plan to use it as intended and want it to poop presents and candy for your children, you'll want something a bit larger...like a fireplace log. In fact, part of the tradition is to burn the log in the fireplace once he has completed his job.
If you can find a log that has branches in the proper configuration for the legs, all you have to do is cut them down to the proper length. If not, you can drill two holes and insert branches for the legs. Drill a hole for the nose and insert a piece of wooden dowel or a piece of a branch.
Paint the eyes, nose, and mouth, Add a hat (ideally a Catalan berretina , but a Santa hat will do nicely). Cover the Caga Tió with a blanket. You'll also need some sticks so the kids can persuade the Caga Tió to drop his log, so to speak.
Get some candy and small toys for Caga Tió to poop out (actually just hidden under the blanket). You may want to make up your own Caga Tió song as the traditional one seems to lose something in translation.
The Caga Tió Song
tió de Nadal,
log of Christmas,
no caguis arengades,
don't sh*t herrings,
que són massa salades
which are too salty,
que són més bons!
which is much better!
Make it your own tradition
Make it fun by going into the woods as a family to find the perfect log for your Caga Tió. Let the kids help paint the face and welcome him into your home. The kids should leave raisins and nuts on a plate for Caga Tió to build up his strength.
When you think about it, does this make any less sense than a fat man in a red suit delivering toys by way of a chimney? Let your kids experience the tradition of another culture and just have fun with it! Life is too short not to have a log that poops gifts.
Here is another story about Christmas - My Favorite Christmas