One of the truly fantastic things about travel is learning all about the different traditions that people celebrate around the world.
Some holiday traditions are really crazy. They make no sense at all. Such as a rabbit that delivers chocolate eggs to celebrate the death of Christ. Or a fat man who flies through the night in a carriage lead by reindeer, who then land on your roof so that the fat man can come down the chimney and leave presents in socks. And Caga Tio. This one blew my mind, in a hilarious, too fantastic to be true, lord-I-wish-my-son-was-still-13 kind of a way!
I have just been in Barcelona, roaming the Christmas markets and reveling in December in Catalonia. Catalans are wonderful people, I adore their culture, I adore Barcelona and I adore them. I truly hope that no Catalans take offense to this post!
Let me tell you about one of the funniest Christmas traditions I have ever come across in all my years wandering the world, it is the Catalan tradition of Caga Tio. (Pronounced Cacka-tee-oh)
Everywhere I went in Barcelona I saw Caga Tio, and he was the absolute super star of every Christmas market. Caga Tio is a log with legs, a blanket, a stick, a red hat and a huge smiling face. You can buy little ones and huge ones, most of them are actual logs but some are in soft toy form. He is essentially the Catalan version of Santa Claus. Tio means uncle but it also means log, and caga means poo, so the literal translation is Poo-log.
From December 8th until Christmas Eve it is the kids’ job to take care of Caga Tio. They put a blanket over him to keep him warm, and every night they feed him turron and orange peel. They more they feed him and the better care they take of him, the more he will poop out presents at Christmas!
The story gets even crazier and funnier! On Christmas eve the children get sticks and beat Caga Tio while singing him the Caga Tio song. They literally beat him until he poops! My Catalan friend told me that after the beating the kids run away and hide while the parents put presents under the blanket. Apparently they call out “Eeeeeewwww! It’s getting really smelly in here!” (I about died laughing at that!!) Then the kids come back into the room and look under the blanket that has been keeping him warm these past few days and weeks and find that Caga Tio has pooped out their Christmas presents!
Isn’t that just the funniest thing ever?? If you know some fun Christmas customs from around the world please tell me in the comments section below!
Very best wishes to all of you, my readers, all around the world for an absolutely wonderful Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate). I hope your holiday season is full of love and happiness!