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Cagatió Pooping Log

Christmas Log

Tio Nadal. A Spanish Christmas tradition that consists in a harmless game for kids. It is a hollow log that is decorated with stick legs and a smiling face.

In the Autonomous Community of Catalonia the official language of Catalan coexists with the official language of Castilian Spanish. Catalonia maintains unique customs that distinguishes the community from the rest of Spain. The region's particular way of celebrating Christmas highlights some of these differences.

Tio Nadal

The “cagatió”, or pooping log, is a sweet and fun mythological aspect of the season that usually begins appearing in living rooms of Catalan houses approximately 15 days before Christmas. The cagatió is a hollow log that is decorated with stick legs and a smiling face. Other fundamental parts of the cagatió's outfit are the barrentina, a traditional Catalonian hat, and a blanket to keep the log warm.

Children are in charge of feeding the log in the days prior to Christmas. They usually leave the cagatió nuts, water, fruit and other types of food that will “mysteriously” disappear, eaten by the log, when the kids are not present. Small children often feed the log their leftovers, a perfect excuse to leave food.

The better the children treat the cagatió, the more generous he will be on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, according to traditions of each family, the children will approach the cagatió while singing:

“Poop log, poop turron, if you don't poop well, I'll hit you with a stick”

There are many variations to the song depending on each family and their traditions. After each song, the kids hit the cagatió with a stick to make it poop. After their parents quickly distract the children, a small present, normally candies, turron (Spanish nougat) or wafers (called neules en Catalonia), appears underneath the blanket. Nowadays, more and more often, different presents are being incorporated into the cagatió pooping log tradition.

The process is repeated until the log “poops” a head of garlic, an onion, an egg, or any other symbolic item that represents the end of the fun until next year.