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Tió de Nadal - Caga Tió - Catalan Christmas log E-mail
Written by christmas   

Caga Tio Christmas log - Poo log

Tió de Nadal - Caga tió - Catalan Christmas log and song

A popular Christmas tradition in Barcelona and the Catalonia province of Spain is the “Tió de Nadal” which is also called the "Caga tió." In this context the word "tió" in Catalan language means “log." (In Spanish "tio" means "uncle” or “guy.")  "Tió de Nadal" means "Christmas log or trunk" - and not "Christmas uncle" or "Christmas guy." Caga Tió means "Poop log!" :-)

Yes. Caga Tió is a Christmas log that poos presents and is sold all over town in supermarkets and Christmas markets. At Barcelona's biggest Christmas market, the Santa Llúcia market  you can see a giant Tió de Nadal, which poops out candy and sweets for the children under 12 years of age.

Teh “Tió de Nadal” Christmas log is a log or tree stump standing on stick legs with a very happy painted face at one end and wearing a red Catalan barretina hat. You can buy a Tió de Nadal in all sizes at Catalan Christmas markets and you can often see a giant Tió de Nadal at public Christmas events.

Caga Tio

What is the Caga Tió tradition and why is it called a poop log?

It works like this. The Christmas log is "fed" sweets and candy, pampered and cared for by children starting from the 8th December, which is the Feast of Immaculate Conception day, “Dia de la Immaculada Concepció” and ending on Christmas Eve on 24th December. The Caga Tió gets a blanket to keep it warm at night and as Christmas gets closer the parents even replace the Tió de Nadal logs with bigger versions to make the children think that the log has grown after being fed by the children. The children believed that the better they cared for the Caga Tió log and the bigger it became, then the bigger the present would be at Christmas.

Then on Christmas Eve the Caga Tió log is put very close to the fireplace. The children sing the “Caga Tió” song to get the log to “poo” some presents. While they are singing the children whip the log with a stick.

The Caga Tió song ends with a final load cry of “Caga Tió!”  which is the imperative tense of the the verb "to defacate," so it literally this is a command to the log to "shit log!!" 

After singing and whipping the log the children leave the room to pray for presents which gives the parents an opportunity to sneak some presents into the hollow log or under the blanket (most Caga Tió logs these days are not hollow.) Then when the children come back into the room they get the present, which the log has pooed! It´s charming!

Generally the present pooed out by the log is candy, sweets and turrón nougat and maybe one gift. The bulk of Christmas presents for children in Spain are delivered on 6th January by the Three Kings on Kings Day on 6th January,  not by Santa on Christmas Day.

When the log has nothing left to "poo", it finishes the deed with a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion, or it "urinates" by leaving a bowl of water.

The Caga tió are generally regarding as communal gifts to be shared by everyone. After the log has finished crapping presents, if you have a fireplace, you can burn the “Tió" log afterwards. Most people just keep it for next year.

The Caga Tió is a tradition with century old origins back to the days when the fireplace was a central and important part of family life. The ashes of the burnt log were kept and spread by crops and near the stable and even on the beds as a rite to promote fertility.

Caga tió song - Catalan and English lyrics

Caga tió,
Caga torró,
Avellanes i mató,
Si no cagues bé
Et daré un cop de bastó.
Caga tió!

English translation Caga tió Christmas song

Shit, log,
Shit nougats (turrón),
Hazelnuts and mató cheese,
If you don't shit well,
I'll hit you with a stick,
Shit, log!

Another less popular version:

Caga tió,
Tió de Nadal,
No caguis arengades,
Que són massa salades
Caga torrons
Que són més bons!"

Shit, log,
Log of Christmas,
Don't shit herrings,
Which are too salty,
Shit nougats (turrón)
Which are much better!

Where to buy a Christmas "Caga Tió" in Barcelona?
You can buy Caga Tio logs in all sizes at Barcelona Christmas markets and at supermarkets too.

Guide to Barcelona Christmas

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