A poopy Christmas in Catalonia



Catalans are traditionally a bit scatological, and they’ve got not one but two traditions to prove it. First is a Christmas log called Tió de Nadal or Caga Tió (“pooping log”), a hollowed-out bit of rustic wood – usually around a foot long – with a smiley face and draped with a blanket. When kids smack it with sticks, they´re rewarded with candies, nuts, turrón (holiday nougat), and little gifts which get “pooped” out of its back end.

More explicitly fecal-centered, the caganers (shitters) are small figurines which have adorned  Nativity scenes and other holiday décor since at least the 18th century. They depict bare-assed peasants (inevitably dudes) in their traditional red caps, in the act of squatting and taking a dump. The idea is that they´re fertilizing the earth and thus bringing good luck. In recent years, variations have arisen of caganers depicting politicians and other celebrated figures both real and fictional – from Hollywood celebrities to the Pope to Darth Vader – meant as a satirical device to cut them down to size a bit.

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