El Tio de Nadal or Cagatio (Christmas log, pooping log or shit log) a piece of wood that kids hit on Christmas eve or Christmas day with a stick so it poops presents to the beat of a monotonous song (here is a good example of Caga Tio
found on Youtube), is deep rooted in Catalan traditions and strangely blends with imported gift couriers like Santa or the Three Wise Men, and being just a log and all, the point is that it surely is time enduring. It has even evolved from just a simple wooden block to a smiling face wearing a Catalan hat (barretina). But why am I talking about Christmas presents and Tió so early in December? You should know that our pooping log is to be fed and taken care of in advance (starting Advent for many people or by Immaculate Conception Day on December 8 for some) should you want to have good presents by Christmas (usually it delivers just candies, nougat, sweet stuff till it starts pooping odd things like herring, coal, garlic, onion which are a clear sign for kids to stop asking). Hitting a log and getting gifts back in return is kind of a contradiction, a rather violent thing to teach a child you might say. There are opinions about this. It seems that this is due to the fact that at present, in those houses where there is no fireplace, the beating is just an imitation of the act of poking the fire but I am not sure children are aware of that. Tió
, really means, any thick log cut into pieces to feed a fire. And it is meant to be burnt a little for the gifts to start showing. By now, you have figured out what Caga Tió will bring for Christmas if handled with care, if well fed and protected under its comfortable blanket by the fire. However, I wonder, in these times of global crisis, in this period of domestic chaos, of intestine struggle between right and left, rich and poor, banks and indebted citizens, what a log can poo, other than disenchantment.