Catalans love shit. Literally, as in it’s something to be worshiped. It dates back to their particular pastoral history where shit was seen as a sign of fertility and growth. Farts are cool too, but really, it’s the shit that’s important above everything else. Obviously, the biggest manifestation of this is the Caganer, of which I might add, the 2009 models are now available for perusal. But another, oft-forgotten individual by outsiders is the Caga Tió.
In a nutshell, he takes the place of Santa Claus in Catalonia (and Valencia) in that he brings gifts. Well, “bring” isn’t quite the right word as actually, the verb ‘cagar’ means ‘to crap’ and as it is, he actually craps the gifts. These gifts aren’t part of some Immaculate Reception though and just as you leave out cookies and milk for Santa, you gotta feed the log before he craps out gifts.
Naturally, for the kids to believe in the log that means that the food needs to be eaten, in which case it usually falls on the father to eat up what’s left out for the Tió. As this starts on December 8th and goes until around the 25th, this usually results in the father telling the kids after a few days, “Hey, I think the Tió has really, really had his fill of oranges. Trust me. He’s done with them for at least the rest of the year and he’s really, really full. Maybe just a few bonbons to sweeten him up a little. I think he’d really like some of those.” Then once the day comes (and because it’s a fucking log) the kids hit him with a stick to get gifts crapped out to them. It’s beautiful in a way I just can’t describe, like morning dew in a mountain valley catching the first rays of the sun.
The log is in crisis though. Due to the rancid spread of corporate globalization, Santa Claus is taking over in Catalonia. It probably also has to do with all the Xarnegos that have moved in to the area as well and don’t want their kids receiving gifts crapped from a log. Regardless, there is an effort to save the Tió called, Jo sóc de Tió which means, “I’m with the Tió”. This local group “released” 5,000 Tiós in Barcelona with numbers so that people could tag them on a map and then release them again to spread them around. You can track all of it on that site. You can also follow their Twitter, which apparently if you understand Catalan better than I do, is quite funny. And naturally, to round out the social media onslaught, there is a Facebook Group.
The Tió is still with us, but for how long? We must fight together to save this tradition of a log that craps gifts! It is important to the future of logs crapping gifts everywhere! Because if the Tió falls, then what next, the Caganer, then crema catalana, and then… jamón? It’s a dire future without the Tió my friends. Support him now!