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Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Christmas Catalan Caga Tio Will Not Only Bring Presents


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The second best Christmas gift delivery entity, after Santa Claus, at least in Catalonia, is as you well know by now, Mr. Caga Tio, expression that in the English world is timidly translated as Pooping Log. Let's not fool ourselves, in Catalan it means, shitting log. Once clarified such euphemistic interpretation, let us proceed.

Compared to Santa, alias Noel, or Nicholas, Caga Tió is less handsome and much more sun dried  in appearance, a hard looking fellow, not very valid for Christmas shopping publicity campaigns!
 
But what is the story behind this local hero aka tió de Nadal (navidad)?, come with me and let's find out:


Caga Tió, the Pagan History


First of all, let us make one thing clear, a tió is different from tio which means 'uncle'. In Catalan, a tió is a big log.. And so this is the story of a log, a big thick chunk, that since time immemorial has been chosen from a pile of wood in the farm houses, called masias here in Catalonia, to make a fire to stand the hardships of winter. It was not any kind of log though. Usually it was a soca, that is a tree stump.
There was a point in time, in which that stump, which was burning from December to January, was not only a mute comrade of oh so many winter nights, but eventually became an object of veneration and its ashes were scattered around the house and the fields as a sort of offering to the sun and the benediction of crops.

It must be said that nativity festive celebrations didn't start till IV century AC to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus but the cult of the burning log in your hearth, is a pagan ritual that started way back in time.

When did the log turn into a small buddy with barretina (traditional Catalan hat) and four legs?


It seems that it all began as recently as XVIII or XIX centuries, in the mountainous rural areas of Catalonia. People decided that this figure would no longer have to be burned, but it was supposed to be at home safe and sound, for kids to beat with a stick at will and which eventually would yield presents, like a mother delivers a son, or the earth gives her fruit. Caga tio, I would say, is a cheap kind of Christmas in itself.

What is the liturgy around caga tio?


In the most pure Pagan way and with permission of Christianity, the child log, is laid somewhere in the house and is pampered by parents and children alike by providing him with food to later cover him with a blanket and hit him mercilessly while singing a popular song, like a tribe honoring some deity.

After the punishment, the poor wooden figure, plays to be God, and showing forgiveness, gives out presents among parishioners, in this case, elated kids.

When is Caga Tió supposed to materialize at home?


Our Christmas log, though ugly, is the antithesis of Mr. Scrooge, he, (or she) represents generosity, love and couldn't be more of a familiar guy, as he is supposed to be at the house from December 8th until Christmas day. Not like his always busy, polar partner, that is almost late for the party every year.

What particular presents does 'el tío' bring?


According to the song, Caga Tío brings, almonds and nougat when it is well fed and happy, but herrings or other salty stuff at the end of his hard laboring or if hungry. Kids are sent to another room, in theory to pray, after each beating. In the meantime, parents do their thing so the log keeps giving birth till exhausted.

What do Catalans expect from Caga Tió this season?


Well, this question goes out of the script  but we might as well ask tío more than just presents. I ask him to give us a wise solution to the Catalan problem, a nice candidate we can root for in coming elections and the demise of the current Spanish corrupt government.

In a way, they think we are a Christmas log that is generous after being beaten to death, but every God, has his own wrath, so one day we will give them what they deserve, and what should be yielded by a pooping log.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fill Your Books For Your Photography Business This Festive Season



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The festive season is a time where families reconnect, and everyone’s diaries are filled with festive parties, local events, and family meals. A lot of people want to be able to document these special, sentimental events in high quality, so photographers are in high demand. It may be hard to stand out from the competition, especially if you are only just starting out. Here are some services you can market, along with your qualifications and photography style, to ensure your bookings are filled to the brim. 

Festive Photo Booth

For work parties and family get-togethers, where the alcohol intake is high, and everyone lets their hair down a little, a festive photo booth can be a really nice touch. A photo booth with fun, festive themed props and costumes gives a relaxed and unique feel to the obligatory “everyone in” photo and gives something extra on top of the usual photography services. Having the service open throughout the evening means individuals, and couples, can have their own moment in the evening captured intimately, rather than the event photos which could have captured them with their mouth full from the buffet, or in an unpleasant light. This can also help to bring in a little more profit, as you can offer instant prints for individuals to take home on the night at an extra cost.

Follow Around Photography

For events that pull the mass crowds together for Christmas like Winter Wonderlands, Festive Amusement Parks, and Santa's Grottos, it may seem like personal photos are not an option. However, letting a family hire your services as a follow around has a lot of perks for both you and the family. When out with the family, there is always that one person behind the camera who always gets missed out from every photo. The ‘designated photographer.’ This service means natural, un-posed moments - like laughter - can be captured including the whole family. Having a lightweight camera, like this mirrorless camera, that has a built-in image stabilizer, will mean you are still producing top quality images even when in the hustle and bustle of a large, popular attraction. You can also offer services on top - like putting an album together of the pictures taken - to bring in a little extra profit. The exclusivity of this service and extremely high quality means you can charge a premium price. Just be sure to have an open conversation with your client about what may, or may not, be possible with this type of service. You can also take this opportunity to find out more about them and what kind of photos they like seeing themselves in.

Midnight On New Year's Eve

When the year becomes new, and the spectacular fireworks begin - a special moment is always shared between couples and families. Capturing this moment themselves can not only be unsuccessful - blurry and low quality - but also pulls them away from the moment, making it less intimate and memorable. Offering a service that captures this moment will help you stand out from the competition, as few people are prepared to set aside their own New Year’s celebrations in order to work. Being such a prestigious night, this will also classify as a premium price service.

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas how you can help your photography services to stand up against your competitors this season.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Top 5 Alternative Things to do in Barcelona



Barcelona attracts millions of visitors every year, and it has some amazing places that you can visit. However, there is so much more to see than just the obvious attractions. Barcelona is buzzing with restaurants, bars and a few places you might not have heard about much before. For the aspiring traveler or blogger, your readers will love the idea of seeing these alternatives that are not as busy with the usual tourists.

Sub-Zero Beach Bar

When you are on the beach in Barcelona, one thing you can almost always count on is heat. However, there is a place where you might want to wrap up a little. Located on the beach at Port Olympic, you can drink vodka from a frozen glass, take a look at the beautiful ice sculptures and cool off after a hot day sightseeing.

Steel Donkey Tour

You won’t be riding a steel donkey as such, it is actually another name for a bicycle, but the tour part is correct. These tours are not your typical Barcelona trips they take in many of the back streets in El Borne, the village district of Gracia and the old ruins or Poblenou. Along the way, you are treated to flea markets, squat houses and recycled workshops. There are plenty of photo opportunities for you to share, you can create a poster of your favorites and post it on social media. It is a big hit with those looking to see other parts of the city, and it is a fun-filled day out in its own right.

Make Your Own Cava

One thing that anyone who goes to Spain will want to try is their world-famous Cava. However, with this experience, you can do more than taste it, you can try your hand at creating your own. Take a trip by train to a 1,000-year-old farmhouse in the Penedes wine region in Spain. You can try a variety of wines and then get the chance to bottle your own and apply your custom-made label. There are a few such places as this in Spain so even if you cannot leave the city, you can still have the same experience.

The Escape Rooms

If you like solving puzzles and have a few friends with you, why not try one of the many companies that have escape rooms in the city. They have many scenarios to choose from, and along the way, you will be required to crack codes and find missing keys. Although this isn’t uniquely Barcelona, it is good fun, and it will pass a nice afternoon.

e-bikes

If you are fed up trying to get around the city on, then the Barcelona e-bikes might just be what you need. They are bikes that have a battery powered motor attached; it gives you enough power to ride up and down the hills easily. It also lets you get around the city without having to sit in traffic or on a hot coach. These are just a few of the many things you can do in Barcelona without having to visit the main tourist attractions or go too far outside the city.
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