Weird Holiday Traditions

Alright, as promised here is the 411 on the yuletide pooping log. In order to put it into context, however, I must first give you some info on other holiday traditions from around the world.

In Greenland they wrap up a dead auk (it's a bird) in seal skin, bury it under a rock, and wait until Christmas rolls around a few months later. Then they dig it up, squeeze out the guts (because, ew, who would want to eat guts), and then eat the auk. Probably as part of the Christmas feast.

In Greece they hang a pig jaw in their chimneys so that the evil spirits (Kallikantzaroi) will be driven away.  

In Estonia they do a Christmas Eve sauna with the whole family. Then they go to the graveyard to sing songs to the dead. They also claim their Christmas (Jouloud) has nothing to do with Christianity. 

Latvians do something called mumming. The mummers dress up as horses, bears, Death or corpses. They go house to house singing songs, and they are invited in to eat and drink. I think the mummers are supposed so scare away evil spirits. Or something like that. 

In Wales they take a horse skull, stick it on a pike, pretty it up with ribbons and stuff, and go about town trying to make the horse skull bite people. If it bites you, you have to pay a fine. I guess he who has the horse's skull gets the last laugh.

In the US a giant fat man with a long white beard and wearing a bright red suit squeezes down the chimney with a sack full of presents, eats your cookies and then departs on a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.

Not to leave out other holidays, let's take a look at a French Easter tradition called the "Easter Bell". In this tradition, a giant bell goes house to house delivering candy. Say what now? I have no idea how in the world that is supposed to work. Does it just float around from house to house? I don't get it. Give me a magical rabbit bearing colorful eggs any day of the week over a bell, thanks.

So. Let's talk yuletide pooping logs. In Catalonia, Spain they dress up a hollowed out log with a traditional Catalonian hat (called a barretina) and fashion legs for it. It's called the Caga Tió (Pooping Log) or Tió de Nadal (Christmas Log). They draw a face on it, and cover it with a blanket. For several days leading up to Christmas, you feed it. Then on Christmas you beat it with a stick, sing a song and then look under the blanket. If you fed it right, it will have pooped out gifts. This is not to be confused with the tradition of the Caganer, which is a figurine of a person defecating hidden somewhere in a nativity village scene.  You can google that one, because I am not sullying my blog with a picture of it.

So the song goes:

Poop log,
poop turrón,
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
Don't poop sardines, they are too salty,
poop out turr
ón, they are better,
poop log!

At the Catalonian Christmas party we went to the girls got to make their own Caga Tió, complete with a little barretina hats. Here is a picture of all the kids' Tiós, lined up under the Catalonian flag with little bowls of snacks in front of them.

There was also a regular sized Caga Tió:

And here are the kids, singing the song and beating well, beating the crap out of it.

If you need to get a better idea of how it all goes down, here is a YouTube video of some kids singing it.

And that, my friends, is the Catalonian yuletide pooping log! And I have to admit, it is a whole lot of fun. 


  1. Which one? The one where the fat man flies away on some reindeer? :)

  2. Well... interesting things I've learned here today!

  3. Not going to Greenland....

  4. The Caga Tio videos on youtube were pretty funny!

  5. Gotta love YouTube! They have everything you can think of!

  6. Oh my giddy aunt! HILARIOUS! I thought my family was odd. We've suddenly become rather stiff and boring. No beating of pooping logs in our home {sigh}.

  7. you feed it food? how does the log eat the food? lol. I think that is awesome..hilarious, but awesome!

  8. Joy, you haven't lived until you have beaten a pooping log!! ;)

    Emily, no one sees the log eat... it happens in the middle of the night when no one is looking- like when santa comes - its a mystery how he gets down the chimney too! :)

  9. Andrea! YOU ARE IN TROUBLE, young lady!
    That is not the Spanish flag. It is the Catalonian flag! You better correct it before any of our catalonian friends or family read the blog! These are not the right times to make such a mistake... tsk, tsk, tsk...

  10. Ooooops!!! You are right it is Catalonian, I better fix that!


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