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21 Dec · enric_5n0hhz9m · No Comments

Christmas Catalan Traditions: “Cagatio” or “Tio de Nadal”

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Christmas Traditions in Catalonia

A “Cagatio” in every home

We should look back to ancient times, to understand why was born in Catalonia a tradition which is still celebrated in every place called “ Cagatio” or “ Tio de Nadal”. A long time ago communities where living in rural areas, in harmony with the nature, trying to understand taking a good care of it and protecting the environment, in order to get its fruits every year.

For families, the hardest time was always winter, when fields seemed to be numbed, waiting for the spring to get woke up and bloomed. During this period, wooden logs were needed to light bonfires and get some warm. 

Nights used to be too long and adults teach children to love and understand nature. Sometimes they did it through a log, children took care of this log, feeding and covering it with a blanked. Children gave also some sweets to the log being a way to thank the nature for the given fruits.

familia con el cagatió

The “Tio de Nadal” brings small presents

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Nowadays tradition of” Cagatio” is still alive in every Catalan house, even today the meaning is not the same. Some families still go into the forest to find a log (a tio). After they paint it a smiler face, they put it 2 tiny legs, the traditional red hut from farmers, the “barretina” and they cover it with a blanket. Some other families prefer to by decorated “Tio” in the Chritsmas markets.

A few weeks before Christmas, children start to feed it every night and on Christmas day, they beat it with sticks, while singing some traditional songs, to make it defecate some presents. The meaning of beating the “tio” may come, because for keeping logs burning in bonfires, logs have to be beat or move. And about defecating?? In the Catalan tradition we have some irreverent figures, like the “caganer” hidden in every crib, just to do things less formal and less pompous.

cagatió en el bosque

There are many different versions of the song sung during this celebration. We could say that every family has as one. But always it is asked to get almonds and “turrones” (a kind of nougat) and if it doesn’t do it, it will be hit by a stick. After the song, children have to leave the room and go to another place of the house to pray or sing Christmas carols, that give relatives time to put small presents under the blanket, Christmas sweets, chocolates and nuts.

To get presents children must take good care of the log


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