Stranger things at Christmas in Barcelona!
Ok, so needless to say you’re not exactly going to find the ‘upside down’ in Barcelona! There’ll be plenty of flashing lights but not a sniff of Winona Ryder chain smoking.
Nevertheless, things do get totally weird here when it comes to certain Christmas traditions. Even after 11 years living here, this writer still can’t get their head around some of them.
Throughout Europe there are plenty of stranger things when it comes to Christmas: burning goats, black Pete, people in general 4am after the office xmas parties, Mystery Santas, Kris Kindles, glue wein.. the list is long. Nothing too strange so far however.
What constitutes strange?
I suppose the concept of a big fat man coming down the chimney to deliver presents could be considered unusual but only until you hear of what goes on in Catalunia.
Yes, my friends Catalunia is the outright winner of Stranger things at Christmas, offering the absolute ‘piece de resistance’ on two fronts for Christmas traditions.
In no particular order I present to you the ‘caga tio’ and the ‘caganer’!!!!
So what are these traditions?
Let’s start with the ‘Caga Tios’! They are found in every public building, school and house from the 8th December until the end of the Christmas season. Technically it is a wooden log with a face and little wooden legs, covered in a blanket. conceptually, the idea is to feed said log all things nice such as fruit, turron and sweets and keep it warm. When the time is right, the ‘tio’ (log) will ‘cagar’ (poo) the presents!!!!
A POOing Log!
That’s right folks, it’s the log that poos presents! If, however, the log does not perform or to ensure it performs well, kids will line up to beat the shitting log!!
And If that’s not entertainment enough for you, you can sing along with everyone while you beat the shitting log. ‘caga tió, caga torró, avellanes i mató, si no cagues bé et daré un cop de bastó, caga tió!” which translates to (shit log, shit turrón, hazelnuts and cheese, if you don’t shit well, I’ll hit you with a stick, shit log!)
Ah yes!!! Totally PG entertainment like all Spanish get togethers and fiestas!
If the poo-ing log was not enough, let’s now move onto the Caganer – a completely different concept but with poo as common denominator.
Stanger things in the Nativity Scene
This little figure turns up in every nativity scene. The birth of jesus just isn’t complete without a little person squatting down and shitting in the corner it would seem.
There’s no religious disrespect meant though and the Caganer has evolved to represent political and celebrity satire. Very often the Caganer is the figurine of actual politicians or celebrities – many many Trumps, Mays, Sanchez, Rajoy and Puigdemonts
Actually, the Caganer symbolizes good-luck and is supposed to be a bit of fun!
Watch this video if you want to know the 5 steps to make a caganer… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nsqT1lcCjw
And so, with that in mind, if you are in Barcelona this Christmas – watch out for both! You cannot miss them.
Christmas in Catalunia just wouldn’t be the same without the Caga Tio and the Caganer.