Caga Tió

Came from rural communities in the middle ages, Spaniards would bring a large log into the house before Christmas symbolizing gifts and warmth and light that were given in the form of wood. It’s a lesson, the kids would have to take care of the caga tió keeping it warm and feeding it, and if they took care of the log talking to him and you know being nice to the log, on Christmas it would poop presents. On Christmas Eve the kids would be nice to the log and say goodnight and it would have a blanket over it. In the morning they would come out with sticks and beat the log and say “Caga tió, caga tió” until it pooped presents.

The informant also involved his children in this tradition a few times since starting his family in California.

Context: The informant is in his 50s; he grew up in Barcelona, Spain (where he primarily participated in this tradition), immigrated to the U.S. as a young adult, and started a family in San Diego, CA where he lives today.

Interpretation: From an American perspective this may seem outlandish, but this tradition is actually fairly similar to Santa in its philosophy: to receive presents from some mythical being, children must be nice and behave well. Except for the beating the log part. In any case, it seems to be a humorous and kid-oriented way to celebrate the holidays, with at least a nod (if ironic) towards positive qualities like generosity.