Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Strange Catalan Traditions at Christmas - Part 2

Now, after my recent post on weird Christmas traditions in Catalunya for the Festive Period, and then reading this one, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Catalans have a bit of an obsession with poo. Yes, you read right.

Another perfectly normal tradition in the Catalan household is to have below the Christmas tree, a decorated log. Not a chocolate log, but a proper, wooden log with his little wooden face, and red cape. I give you the "cagatio" - (crapping uncle?!).
Barcelona sights - Cagatio

The idea of the cagatio is that young children "feed" the cagatio in the run up to Christmas, and then on Christmas Eve night, children line up with their sticks, and beat the cagatio, and he...well, he poos out sweets, of course! There's a traditional song to be sung at the same time:

"Caga tió, caga torró d’avellana i de pinyó, no caguis arengades que són massa salades, caga torrons, que són més bons. Caga tió sinó et darem un cop de bastó."

Barcelona Sights - Turrones
The translation is more or less that the cagatio has to give them sweet "turrons" of almonds and pine nuts, nothing salty, otherwise they'll hit him with the stick. Turrons are like sweet bars kind of like marzipan, and are very traditional at Christmas time.

Whatever you want to think about these Catalan Traditions, I find them really funny and a light-hearted look at the Christmas period, and a great way to celebrate and have the kids involved, too!

For more information on the Catalan Capital, see this Barcelona Guide. Also, as an alternative to a hotel for your next visit, try Apartments for rent Barcelona for more freedom and space.


David Brydon said...

I'd like to rectify my own post here!! Caga Tió in Catalan actually does mean "log" and not uncle, as I foolishly wrote above. I could have sneakily corrected my post above, but a big shout out to Marta (http://www.englishinbarna.blogspot.com/) who corrected me on that one! Thanks Marta!

Marta said...

You're welcome, David! Believe it or not, many people think the tió is an uncle. Crazy tradition :)

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