Monday, 9 January 2012

Tió de Nadal

Back from my first Catalan Christmas! A wonderful time was had by all. Of course we ate and drank way too much, but it's Christmas and par for the course in any culture. Of all the Catalan Christmas traditions, the one I was hanging out for was 'Tió de Nadal', 'The Christmas log', or also known simply 'caga tió', 'shit log'. Tió is pictured above and below in a nativity display. The idea of tió is quite simple; he's brought out a few weeks prior to Christmas day, wrapped up all snuggly in a blanket, food and drink is left for him to feast on, and then on Christmas day children will gather around tió, sing a song encouraging him to shit (yes, really 'shit') all sort of yummy delights (nougat, and the like), and if he refuses, he will be beaten with a stick! The kids actually still give him a few good whacks, just for good measure. I guess they want tió to take them seriously and come through with the quality candy, so best to make sure their threats aren't hollow. After the initial beating, the kids leave tió alone, usually heading to their rooms, then when they return and lift tió's blanket, they see that - low and behold - he has indeed pooped out the goods! I. Kid. You. Not. This happens. In houses all over Catalunya. I saw it with my very own eyes!
Behold: The Coello Pou tió. Looking quite happy under his Hello Kitty blanket. If only he knew what fate lies ahead...
Preparation for premium poop; feed your tió well! I have to say though, our little niece was verging on the 'too old' side for the magic of tió, luckily we have another niece coming up the ranks and in a year or two she will hopefully be whacking that log with all the strength she can muster and then squealing with delight when she sees such magic preformed before her. I, for one, cannot wait. Makes the old tree look positively dull, doesn't it?!
By the Christmas market, lots of mini tió's, sporting traditional Catalan hats. Kind of wish I'd gotten one now. Next year...

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