In old times in Catalonia when, like everywhere else, life was mostly rural, late in the night in Christmas Eve families were waiting for the moment to leave for the church to attend the “Missa del gall” (“Cock's Mass”) thus named due to the time at night when it was and still is celebrated.
In Catalonia, the great Christmas meal, with all the family around, is the lunch on the very 25. Therefore one could not rely on the dinner on the 24 “to gain time”.
To keep the children entertained by the fire, somebody, somewhere, decided to pick up one of the logs (“tió” in Catalan language!) intended for the fireplace and managed to convince the children that, if they hit it, the tió was going to poop out some presents, mostly sweets like turrons and golosinas (sweets).
|different types of torrones|
That´s why it is called “Caga tió”. (To poop is cagar) The children sing or say a verse while hitting the tió with a stick. The verse is, more or less like this:
"Poop Tió, poop torrones, almonds and pinenuts,
don´t poop herrings, they are too salted, poop
torrones that they are better.
Poop Tió, poop turrones, if not I will
hit you with the stick.
In Catalonia, like in all Spain, important presents for the children are traditionally brought by the “Reis Mags” (“The Three Wise Men”) on the night of January 5.
The tradition of the “Tió” was thus born and it continues today with every family adjusting it to its own customs. Children begin to feed the tió about 2 weeks before Xmas with peels of mandarins and other things from the table. All to make him fat, so he will poop a lot! Then, when the moment comes, one has to make the children go and do something, while one hides small presents and sweets under the blanket of the tió. In our house we tell the children to go to the bathroom and wet the stick well, otherwise it does not work!
Another funny custom that has to do with pooping is the “caganer”. A person who sits and poops in the Nativity scene.. The story is that when Jesus was born the world went on as usual and of course there were also some people doing their needs.
Here the wise men pass a "caganer".
Now it is very popular to show famous people as “caganer”. Here for example Barças football player Messi!