Tió de Nadal - Caga Tió - Catalan Christmas Pooping log

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' also called the 'Caga tió.' In this context, the word 'tió' in Catalan language means log and not 'uncle' or 'guy' as in the Castellano Spanish language. So Tió de Nadal in Catalan means Christmas log or Christmas trunk - and not Uncle Christmas or the Christmas guy.

Caga Tió means 'Poop log!' Yes, that's right. Caga Tió is a Christmas log that poos Christmas presents. You can buy them all over Barcelona and Catalonia in supermarkets and Christmas markets. 'Tió gegant' means a 'giant' caga Caga Tió log. This name is used when a big Caga Tió log is used at a public event. At special events and at Barcelona's biggest Christmas market, the Santa Llúcia market by Barcelona Cathedral in the gothic quarter, a giant Tió de Nadal poops out candy and sweets on stage for young children.


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What does the Catalan Christmas pooing log look like?

The 'Tió de Nadal' Christmas log is a log or tree stump standing on wooden stick legs. 

It has a very happy face painted at one end and it wears a red Catalan 'barretina' hat. The Caga Tió has a blanket to keep it warm at night.

You can buy a Tió de Nadal in all sizes at Catalan Christmas markets.

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 from the 8th December, which is the Feast of Immaculate Conception, 'Dia de la Immaculada Concepció' until on Christmas Eve on 24th December.

As Christmas Eve approaches some parents even replace the Tió de Nadal logs with bigger log versions to trick the children into thinking that the Caga Tió has grown after being fed by the children.

The children believe the better they care for the Caga Tió log the bigger it grows and the bigger the present will be on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, the 24th December, 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 singing, the children whip the log with a stick. 

The Caga Tió song ends with a final loud shout of 'Caga Tió!' Caga is the imperative tense of the verb 'defacate.' So literally this is a command for the log to poop!

After singing and whipping the Christmas log the children leave the room to pray for presents, which gives the parents an opportunity to put presents into the hollow log or under the blanket (most Caga Tió logs these days are not hollow.)

Then the children come and get the presents, which the log has pooped! When the log has nothing left to poop, it finishes the deed with a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion, or it 'urinates' by leaving a bowl of water. 

Generally these days the presents pooped out by the log are candy, sweets and turrón nougat and maybe one toy. The bulk of Christmas presents for children in Spain are given on 6th January with arrival of the Three Kings on Kings Day which falls on 6th January - and not by Santa on Christmas Day.

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. Many people keep it for next year as fireplaces are rare in modern times.

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.

American comedian and actress Kate McKinnon explained on Late Night with Seth Myers how she adopted the Catalan poop log Christmas tradition

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.

Related pages:
Guide Barcelona Christmas

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 January 2024 20:39