Normally, December 6th marks the beginning of the Christmas season in many countries. While it even reaches its peak in the Netherlands, it doesn’t hold much significance here in Catalonia: December 6th comes and goes without noteworthy events.
However, the Catalan pre-Christmas season begins two days later, on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. From now on, the Christmas markets officially open, and the Christmas lights in the streets of Barcelona are plugged in.
But this day is even more important for the children: Because now a very special tradition begins. The Caga Tió arrives!
The Tió de Nadal, or Caga Tió as it is called (Pooping Uncle), is sought and has to be fed! To do this, families go into the forest on weekends to find the tree trunk (previously placed there by the parents) with a smiling face, two legs, and a red hat (barretina).
This is then taken home, fed, and cared for. It is also covered with a blanket to keep it cozy.
But on December 24th, it’s time. The little log is no longer cared for but beaten with a stick! Because it’s supposed to “poop out” (cagar) the gifts (which the parents placed under the blanket)…
While hitting the blanket, a song is always sung:
Here’s one of the possible songs: (Source + Translation: Wikipedia)
d’avellanes i de pinyó
pixa vi blanc
de les festes de Nadal.
ara vénen festes,
i llebres si en tenim.
si no vols cagar,
et donaré un cop de bastó.
made of hazelnuts and pine nuts,
piss white wine
for the Christmas festivities.
Now come the holidays,
we’ll eat rabbit
and hares if we have them.
if you don’t want to poop,
I’ll give you a whack with a stick.