These Catalan traditions usually come as quite a shock to the rest of mankind but are nonetheless quite fun although strange at the same time if you get my meaning. Ok so we know that Christmas has its roots in pagan celebrations, but where do these guys come from?
This little guy below is “El Caganer”. He’s a figurine for your nativity scene. He’s a red-capped peasant, or a monk, a nun or another type of figure (nowadays you can buy them of famous people including the president elect Barak Obama!). You place him a little bit away from the rest of the figures in your nativity scene because he’s crapping. Yes sir, El Caganer translates to “the great defecator” in Catalan. It’s not sacrilegious – the “fertilizer” means the year will yield a good harvest. If not, it’s a heck of a conversation piece.
This Christmas tradition is fun for the whole family. First you have to get a log then hollow it out. Put a face on the log along with some arms and legs. Make it look like a reindeer or a dog or something and start “feeding” the log on December 8th. It should be full of candy and toys and stuff by Christmas. Then, beat the log (or “Caga Tio”) until he “poops” out all the goodies. If the stuff doesn’t come out, there is a song you can sing. It translates to “Poop log, poop turron, hazelnuts and cottage cheese, if you don’t poop well, I’ll hit you with a stick, poop log!”
El Caga Tio